Gender, Work and Equality - SOCI5440

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The key focus of this course is to provide students with a good understanding of issues surrounding gender and the labour market in a comparative sociological perspective. The course is designed around the core research questions in the gender inequality literature in relation to work-life balance in the context of family, company, the labour market and the welfare states. The module starts off examining the key questions of whether there is a gender wage gap and each week discusses the potential explanation of why there is a gender gap, starting with the preference theory – women earn less because they make bad choices in their lives, moving on to more structural problems restricting women's choices. We also examine some of the key methods which gender inequality research has used recently


Contact hours

Total Contact time: 22 hours
Private Study time: 128 hours
Total Study time: 150 hours


BA Sociology – optional module
BA Social Policy – optional module
Other relevant degrees offered by SSPSSR and as an elective module for students outside SSPSSR

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – mini research project (2000 words) – 40%
Coursework – essay (3,000 words) – 60% - pass compulsory

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Preliminary reading
Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society, 4(2), 139-158.
Bianchi, S. M., Sayer, L. C., Milkie, M. A., & Robinson, J. P. (2012). Housework: Who did, does or will do it, and how much does it matter?. Social forces, 91(1), 55-63.
Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). Incomplete revolution: adapting welfare states to women's new roles. Cambridge: Polity.
Schober, P. S. (2013). The parenthood effect on gender inequality: Explaining the change in paid and domestic work when British couples become parents. European Sociological Review, 29(1), 74-85.
Williams, J. C., Blair-Loy, M., & Berdahl, J. L. (2013). Cultural schemas, social class, and the flexibility stigma. Journal of Social Issues, 69(2), 209-234.
Williams, J. (2000). Unbending gender: Why family and work conflict and what to do about it: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Explain the nature of the relationship between 'work' and 'gender', with a systematic understanding of the current debates around these issues
8.2 Possess a systematic understanding of the nature of division of labour in modern day society, and the debates and trends in the division of labour
8.3 Possess a systematic understanding of the role of social norms, social and national institutions in the way work is divided between men and women
8.4 Identify and critically evaluate the key factors influencing the division of labour both in the labour market and within the household
8.5 Identify and critically evaluate the main policy developments in Britain and in Europe in the area of the work-life balance and family policies
8.6 Critically evaluate, and be aware of, the relevant social scientific literature and empirical evidence (including qualitative and quantitative evidence) in the field (in particular, major research studies of recent years)
8.7 Demonstrate an ability to assess and critically evaluate the validity of explanations given for the problem of the gender inequalities prevalent in our labour market and the relevance of difference policy responses

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research using library and on-line resources
9.2 Communicate using a range of methods to both specialist and generalist audiences
9.3 Demonstrate an ability to use research method tools (quantitative or qualitative) to explain a research question
9.4 Critically evaluate a research method (quantitative and qualitative) used in an academic or social study


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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