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Gender and the Law


Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students. Proficiency in English both orally and in writing.


This survey course on Gender and the Law will compare American law with law from the European Court of Human Rights to investigate the meanings of gender equality. Subjects covered will include constitutional law, employment law, domestic violence, sex work, abortion, and work-family conflict. Students will write a paper instead of an exam, on a topic they choose that is related to the course and approved by the professor. This class will be taught and all requirements completed in English.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course:
1) To teach students to view a wide range of legal topics through a gender lens.
2) To enable students to think about the different meanings gender equality has in different countries.
3) To give a basic level of knowledge of several different areas of the law, including those areas listed above.
4) To teach students about American law and expose them to the American approach to legal education, which focuses on class discussion.

Achievement levels:
The course is designed to give students a high level of proficiency in viewing law through a gender lens. It is designed to give a basic level of proficiency in comparing American and European law in different areas of law relevant to gender equality. It is also designed to introduce students to a different model of legal education—one that relies as much on class discussion as it does on lecture.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Prof Joan Williams

  • Required preparation by students: reading of assigned readings before class meetings and come ready to discuss them; do a short class presentation; write a paper.


  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare written assignments.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Paper

Submission procedures

  • tba


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Literature: readings to be posted on Blackboard

  • Course information guide: outline as posted on Blackboard

  • Reader: to be announced on Blackboard

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Blackboard


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: Anette van Sandwijk

  • Werkadres: Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden

  • Bereikbaarheid: op afspraak via het secretariaat

  • Telefoon: 071 527 7153

  • E-mail:



A maximum of 20 students can participate in this course.