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Unit information: The Politics of Gender in 2021/22

Unit name The Politics of Gender
Unit code POLI31351
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Guerrina
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit examines the contemporary literature on women and politics, with a particular focus on women's participation and representation in British politics. It explores the gender gap in voting patterns and mass political participation; the under-representation of women in national legislatures and strategies for increasing women's descriptive representation. It also considers why the number of women in parliaments might matter and what difference women representatives might make to the policy process.


  • To convey key contemporary research in relation to women’s elite and mass political participation
  • To compare and contrast explanations for women’s descriptive representation
  • To evaluate various strategies for increasing women’s descriptive representation
  • To critically consider the extant empirical and theoretical literature on the relationship between women’s descriptive and substantive representation
  • To critically consider the extant literature on the media and women and politics

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of debates about the nature of women’s political participation and representation
  2. A detailed knowledge of the various explanations for women’s under-representation and proposals to increase levels of women’s descriptive representation
  3. An ability to apply theoretical and normative frameworks to evaluate the above debates as well as those associated with the substantive representation of women
  4. An ability to engage constructively in focused deliberation on theoretical issues
  5. An ability to give effective oral presentations to one’s peers
  6. An ability to write clearly and analytically, making use of the relevant material
  7. An ability to express, justify and defend orally and in writing a personal opinion about political issues

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

1,000 word essay (25%) 2,500 word essay (75%)

Both assessments test all learning outcomes


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI31351).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.