nl en

Gender and Development




Admission Requirements



Global inequalities, transnational relations and international development are all crucial and increasingly important areas for analysis, research and political activism. While in global, national and local discourses individuals in these fields are often treated as neutral, sometimes even passive, subjects within a linear process of development both inequalities and development need to be understood as reflecting and reproducing various structures of power and inequality. Gender represents one of the most crucial axes of analysis in this context. Different consequences for men and women, gendered understandings of aims, methods and practices of interventions and the reproduction of gender roles and stereotypes in debates are all inherent to the international development discourse.

In this course we will use gender as a specific lens to analyse various fields of development. We will apply several concepts, theories and approaches of gender analysis in order to explore some key themes within international development. For this endeavour we will focus each week on a specific field of development. We will discuss the significance of a gender analysis for researchers, policy makers, international and national NGO and political activists in the field. The discussion will also take different levels of analysis into account, moving from institutional examples, such as the Millennium Development Goals, pronounced by the UN, to grass-roots activism by feminist groups in the field. It will become clear that applying gender as both an analytical lens and a political perspective is crucial for a productive and progressive discussion of international development. At the same time aspects and issues of (international) development will provide excellent field studies to identify the persistence of gender structure, dynamics and processes.

Course Objectives

  • Students will be introduced to the main concepts, theories and approaches of gender analysis

  • Students will be introduced to some key themes in the development agenda

  • Students will be able to analyse the ways in which gender shapes discourses, structures, institutions and practices of international development

  • Students will become sensitive to the ways in which development practices (re)produce, challenge or change gender structures


  • Literature, consisting of articles, book (chapters) and reports will be available electronically.

  • Students will be encouraged to identify and collect discussions on the gendered processes of development

Weekly Overview

  • Week 1: Gender and development: theories, approaches, agencies, rhetoric

  • Week 2: Gender mainstreaming international development: Fields for policy and practice

  • Week 3: Victims or entrepreneurs: Poverty, education and participation

  • Week 4: The female body: Sex tourism and sex work

  • Week 5: Gender, violence and (armed) conflict

  • Week 6: Women migrant workers in the global economy

  • Week 7: Girls and women as agents of social change: resistance and empowerment