Gender and Politics: Political Science from a Gender Perspective (15 ECTS)

Course content

In what ways are politics and policy gendered and gendering? What does it mean to carry out political and policy analysis from a gender perspective? What does feminist and queer theory bring to the study of politics and policy? In tackling these questions, this course provides a critical introduction to political science from a gender perspective.

The course examines the complex relationship between politics and gender. It introduces students to different theoretical perspectives on the ways in which politics, public policy, and international relations are shaped by and contribute to gender dynamics. In particular, the course delves into the gendered and gendering nature of politically relevant phenomena such as representation, political behavior, and war and conflict. Moreover, by presenting empirical cases through a variety of methodological and analytical lenses, the course introduces students to a wide range of ways of carrying out feminist, gender, and intersectional studies of politics and policy.

To reflect these aims, the course features sessions on the following topics:

  • Introduction: The empirical study of gender and politics
  • Theorising representation
  • Political recruitment and ambition
  • Comparative State Feminism
  • Quotas and action plans
  • Gender equality policy
  • Feminist expertise in policymaking
  • Violence and harassment in politics
  • How should feminists behave? (Intro to feminist theory)
  • ‘Troubling your approach to methods’ (Intro to feminist methods)
  • Feminist IR and security studies
  • Queer theory
  • Gender and migration
  • Gender and environmental politics


Some sessions may also feature presentations by guest and visiting gender and politics scholars on topics aligned with their expertise. In the past this has included presentations on the #MeToo movement in Asia, gender and diplomacy, gender and welfare, and intimate partner violence policy in Denmark.

Two sessions will also be dedicated to peer review of assignment work.


Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Master Programme in Social Data Science
  • Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology
  • Bachelor and Master Programmes in Anthropology 


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students
Learning outcome


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify, summarise and differentiate between key theories and concepts used in studying politics and public policy from a gender perspective, including theories of representation, political participation, and state feminism;
  • Describe and evaluate current public policy research on issues of gender and equality by reflecting on methodological and theoretical strengths and weaknesses;
  • Describe and evaluate the role of actors, institutions and ideas in shaping policy decisions;
  • Describe and evaluate the opportunities and challenges faced by under-represented groups in policymaking and formal political processes.



On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and compare theoretical arguments and different types of scientific evidence;
  • Plan, manage, and write a portfolio of assessed work on a gender equality policy topic of interest;
  • Organise and carry out comparative political and policy analyses from a gender perspective, and communicate policy-relevant information effectively to non-academics through a policy brief and blog post.



On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Analyze and critically evaluate scientific arguments, evidence, empirical data, and methodological choices;
  • Assess real-world problems related to gender through different theoretical perspectives;
  • Develop and communicate their own scientific arguments and empirical findings to a non-academic audience;
  • Conduct and communicate independent empirical analysis to an academic audience.

This is a team-taught course featuring research- and problem-led teaching. Classes will comprise mini-lectures, guest presentations from visiting researchers, small group exercises, frequent group and class discussion.

The following are an indicative list of key readings associated with the course:

Bacchi, Carol (1999) Women, policy and politics. The construction of policy problems. London: Sage.

Outshoorn, Joyce y Johanna Kantola eds. (2007) Changing State Feminism. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Stratigaki, Maria (2005) “Gender Mainstreaming vs Positive Action: An on-going Conflict in EU Gender Equality Policy”, European Journal of Women’s Studies, 12(2): 165-86.

Joni Lovenduski (ed.) (2005) State Feminism and Political Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Verloo, Mieke ed. (2007) Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality. A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender Policies in Europe. Budapest: CEU.

Celis, Karen, Johanna Kantola, Georgina Waylen, and S. Laurel Weldon. (2013). “Introduction: Gender and Politics: A Gendered World, a Gendered Discipline”, in The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, edited by Georgina Waylen, Karen Celis, Johanna Kantola,and S. Laurel Weldon. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kantola, Johanna. (2006). Feminists Theorize the State. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Scott, J. (1986). “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis”, American Historical Review, 91(5): 1053–1075.

Benschop, Yvonne and Verloo, Mieke (2006) '"Sisyphus‟ Sisters”: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?', Journal of Gender Studies, 15(1), 19-33.

Verloo, Mieke. (2006).”Multiple Inequalities, Intersectionality and the European Union”, European Journal of Women's Studies, 13(3): 211-228.

Walby, Sylvia (2005) “Gender mainstreaming: Productive tensions in theory and practice”, Social Politics, 12(3): 321-343.

Ferree, M. M. and A. M. Tripp (eds.), (2006), Globalization and Feminism: Opportunities and Obstacles for Activism in the Global Arena. New York: New York University Press.

McBride Dorothy and Amy Mazur, eds (2010), The Politics of State Feminism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Squires, Judith. 2007. The New Politics of Gender Equality. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Celis, Karen. 2009. “Substantive Representation of women (and improving it): what it is and should be about?”, Comparative European Politics, 7(1): 95–11.

Lombardo, Emanuela and Petra Meier (2014) The symbolic representation of gender. A discursive approach. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Dahlerup, Drude (ed.) (2006) Women, Quotas and Politics. Routledge.

Lovenduski, Joni (ed.) (2005) State Feminism and Political Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lovenduski, Joni, (2005), Feminizing Politics. Cambridge: Polity.

Outshoorn, Joyce and Johanna Kantola (eds), (2007), Changing State Feminism. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Mazur, Amy, (2002), Theorizing Feminist Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mazur, Amy, and Isabelle Engeli, (2018), “Taking implementation seriously in assessing success: The politics of fender equality policy”, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 1(1): 111-129.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Students will receive individual written feedback on both of their portfolio assignments. They will also receive oral peer feedback on the drafts of their assignments when they participate in class peer review sessions.

Type of assessment
Type of assessment details
Portfolio exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • English
  • 56


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Emily Flore St Denny   (2-6766426b6875306d7730666d)

The team teaching on this course includes:
Emily St.Denny (coordinator and lecturer)
Karina Kosiara-Pedersen
Hanne Nexø Jensen
Lene Hansen
Michelle Betsill
Carolin Rapp
Alice El-Wakil
Dean Cooper-Cunningham

Saved on the 30-04-2024

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