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Programme & Unit Catalogues

PL51033: Gender, political behaviour and representation

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 33%, ES 67%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 33%)
  • Essay (ES 67%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: This unit will provide a comprehensive introduction to gender and political behaviour and representation. In the course of this unit, students will explore how politics and political institutions are gendered; and develop knowledge of major theoretical debates within the literature on gender and political behaviour and representation. The course will therefore enable students to conduct in-depth research into the gendered nature of political institutions and political behaviour.

Learning Outcomes: On completion of this unit, students should be able to:
* Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of theories on gender and political behaviour and representation
* Critically assess a range of theoretical assertions made by key gender scholars
* Apply key theoretical concepts to real-world situations
* Analyse political events with reference to theories.

Skills: Within this unit, students will develop the following skills:
* Advanced and independent research skills
* Intellectual skills (conceptual, original and independent thinking, critical analysis, synthesis and reasoned argument)
* Assessment and judgement in relation to the soundness of competing theoretical arguments
* Skills of self-direction, self-evaluation and time management
* Reading, discussion and presentation of theoretical material
* Application of theoretical and methodological skills to case studies;
* Oral and written communication skills.

Content: This unit will explore how theoretical perspectives on the nature of 'the political' have informed academic understandings of women's political activity, and will look at gendered patterns in political behaviour and representation. It will examine gender differences in voting behaviour and political activities, thereby considering what constitutes 'politics' and 'political activities.' Furthermore, it will discuss trends of women's political representation and explore explanations for these trends as well as for cross-national differences in women's representation. This will be accompanied by a discussion of why the number of women in parliaments might matter and what difference women representatives might make to politics and the policy process. It will also provide a review of theories of representation and discuss contemporary debates on why and how women's access to political power varies across countries. The course will draw on examples from various regions to analyse similarities and differences across cases around the world.

Programme availability:

PL51033 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

PL51033 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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