Sociology of Gender

Course Providers: Professor Oriel SullivanDr Pierre Walthery


This option aims to introduce candidates to the sociological literature explaining the causes and consequences of contemporary gender inequalities in industrialised societies.


There will be eight classes, covering the following topics:
1. Gender inequalities; perspectives and trends
2. Gender in schools and the education system
3. Gender inequalities in the labour market I: The gender wage gap
4. Gender inequalities in the labour market II: Occupational segregation
5. Gender inequalities in the home I: The domestic division of labour
6. Gender inequalities in the home II: Self-made women?
7. Gender, welfare states and public policy regimes
8. Ways forward: policies, action, and approaches for understanding processes of change

On completing the course, students will be familiar with the contemporary situations and trends relating to gender inequalities in industrialised societies. They will understand approaches to the theories and mechanisms that explain the processes leading to gender inequality. They will be capable of embarking on a research project on the subject.

There is a weekly class in Hilary Term. Students will contribute short (1,000 word) weekly essays based on the reading for the class topics; and give one presentation of about 20 minutes summarizing and critically discussing the literature for one class. Attendance, keeping up with the weekly reading and active participation in the classes are requirements.

One three-hour unseen examination in Trinity Term.

  • Blau, F. D., Brinton, M. C. And Grusky, D. (2008) (eds). The Declining Significance of Gender? Russell Sage Foundation
  • Esping-Andersen, G. 2009. The Incomplete Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
  • Scott, J., Dex. S. and Plagnol, A. (2012) (eds). Gendered Lives. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Sullivan, O. (2006) Changing Gender Relations, Changing Families; Tracing the Pace of Change. Rowman Littlefield. Stanford University Press.
  • Treas, J. and Drobnic, S (eds) (2010) Dividing the Domestic: Men, Women, and Household Work in Cross-National Perspective. Stanford University Press.