SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3L125076
Module Leader Emily Thomson
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Economics
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

This module explores the role of women in the economy with a focus on analysing and understanding the nature of women's work within both the household and the formal labour market. This module will primarily focus on examining womens' work roles within the UK economy. However, international comparisons will be drawn upon for the for the purpose of contextualizing the policy framework informing women's patterns of behaviour and choices with reference to the world of paid work. The module will examine economics trends and policy interventions with respect to women's socio-economic position in the UK economy in three major areas; analysing the nature and impact of gender divisions within the household economy; the situation of women in the labour market; and the relationship between state welfare systems and women's poverty. The overarching focus will involve applying the tools of economic analysis for the purpose of developing an understanding of the nature of women's relative disadvantaged position in the economy and in developing and evaluating relevant policy responses.


The overall approach throughout the module will be to initially highlight an issue that provides evidence of possible gender based inequalities and to follow this with discussion around how both mainstream and feminist economic perspectives are applied in attempts to explain these issues/trends. Finally the policy responses employed in addressing the identified issues will be critically evaluated within a political, economic and social context. Following this format the module will focus in on three major aspects of women's socio-economic position within the UK economy: 1) Understanding gender differences from an economics perspective Women and men occupy very different positions within the household economy that informs their choices, needs and responsibilities. This section will highlight the nature of gender divisions within the household and how this imapcts on women's position within the world of paid work. 2) Women in the labour market Occupational segregation and the gender pay gap are significant features of contemporary labour markets that are set against a background of women's increased rates of participation in employment. This section will explain recent trends and analyse the nature and causes of gender based inequalities in the labour market alongside a critical evaluation of the economic and social outcomes associated with such inequalities. Policy developments will be assessed with reference to efficiency goals and how women's relative disadvantaged position within the labour market can impact on overall economic performance. 3) Women, Poverty and the Welfare State The feminisim of poverty is a well-documented concept and state welfare regimes are often criticised for the negative impact policies can have in reinforcing existing gender based inequalities or even creating new ones. This section of the module will introduce the gendered nature of contemporary debates on the future of welfare provision. Attention will be paid to the policy environment informing state welfare reform/provision and the relationship between women's poverty.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1). Understand and explain the causes and nature of comptemporary gender inequalities with specific reference to the world of work and demonstrate an ability to express informed concerns regarding contemporary social issues.2). Demonstrate both quantitative and qualitative technical expertise in analysing the issues, themes and debates concerning women's position in the economy from an economics perspective.3). Critically assess how the promotion of gender equality relates to questions of overall economic performance both within a UK and a global context.4). Demonstate an ability to critically evaluate the policy design, implementation and evaluation process in the general area of gender equality and to set such within the appropriate political, economic and social context.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy will be based upon the lecture/seminar format. The formal lectures will be used to introduce the students to the key issues, policy framework and the economic theories employed in developing an understanding of the nature, causes and impact of gender inequalities in advanced market based economies. The seminars will act in supporting the material raised in formal lectures by exploring relevant issues in further depth. Students will be set specific tasks on a weekly basis, as laid out in the module guide. This will include preparing for debates focused on a particular issue; presenting a summary of assigned readings; presenting findings of group work focused on gathering and analysing relevant data to provide evidence of gender inequalities in the labour market and engaging in role playing exercises for the purpose of highlighting the key actors and process in the policy making community.

Indicative Reading

McKay, A (2005) The Future of Social Security Policy: Women, Work and a Citizens Basic Income, London: Routledge Folbre, N. (1994) Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint. London: Routledge Moe, K. (ed) (2002) Women, Family and Work: Writings on the Economics of Gender, Oxford: Blackwell Becker, G (1981) A Treatise on the Family Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press Becker, G (1971) The Economics of Discrimination Second Edition Chicago: Chicago University Press Loutfi, M (ed) (2001) Women, Gender and Work: What is equality and How do We Get There? Geneva: ILO Ferber, M and Nelson, J (eds) (2003) Feminist Economics Today: Beyond Economic Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Crompton, R (ed) (1999) Restructuring Gender Relations and Employment: The Decline of the Male Breadwinner. Oxford: OUP Hatt, S (1997) Gender, Work and Labour Markets London: Palgrave Macmillan Daly, M and Rake, K. (2003) Gender and the Welfare State. Cambridge: Polity Press Smith, S. (2003), Labour Economics, second edition, London Routledge Humphries J and Rubery J. (1995) The Economics of Equal Opportunities, Manchester: Equal Opportunities Commission The following websites provide a number of links to useful publications and data sources Women and Equality Unit www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk Equal Opportunities Commision www.ecoc.org.uk

Transferrable Skills

Learning Skills The requirements of the seminar programme and formal assessments will allow for the further development of skills in accessign relevant data through appropriate sources and skills relating to the use of information technology. Communication The requirements of the seminar programme will ehance the ability to work collectively in groups and to present findings in a coherent and confident manner to an appropriate audience. The formal assessment requirements will strenghthen written communication skills. Self Management The seminar sessions will be student led and will require students managing their time effectively in order to adequately prepare and produce materials on a regular weekly basis.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 146.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Book Review
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Essay