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Gender & Development




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Gender Studies and/or Global Challenges: Diversity


This course will start with a critical assessment of ‘development’ as a particular, historically grounded and morally colored enterprise. We will assess how changing ideas about gender roles and relations prevalent in the Global North affected efforts to develop societies in the Global South, and how these development efforts have impacted on women and men in the Global South. We will discuss alternatives to Western-biased interpretations of gender and gender (in)equality and, as a case study, closely assess the changes and continuities in African gender structures during precolonial, colonial and postcolonial eras. We will broaden our scope from Western-initiated development efforts to social change more generally, and in this light discuss the diverse impacts of globalization on gendered realities in the Global South. Key themes that will be discussed are the impacts of mass (social) media; changing labor markets, education and ‘empowerment’; and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including HIV and AIDS.

Whereas for long (Western-trained) academics, policy makers and development professionals equated ‘gender’ with ‘women’s issues’, it is increasingly recognized that masculinity is as much a social construct as femininity and deserves critical attention too. Throughout this course, we will therefore pay ample attention to ‘men’s issues’ too.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 30 Oct) - Introduction to course and each other
Session 2 (Friday, 2 Nov) – Overview of gender & devt, part I

Session 3 (Tuesday, 6 Nov) – Overview of gender & devt part II
Session 4 (Friday, 9 Nov) – measuring poverty and women as poorest of the poor

Session 5 (Tuesday, 13 Nov) – Women’s empowerment as smart economics
Session 6 (Friday, 16 Nov) – Girls’ education as global vision for development

Session 7 (Tuesday, 20 Nov) – Masculinities and gender-based violence (guest lecture by Jan Reynders)
Session 8 (Friday, 23 Nov) – Population policies, reproductive and sexual rights

Session 9 (Tuesday, 27 Nov) - Alternative voices: decolonizing gender & devt
Session 10 (Friday, 30 Nov) - Gender, rural development and food security (guest lecture by Ben White)

Session 11 (Tuesday 4 Dec) – UN conventions, gender and human rights
Session 12 (Friday - 7 Dec) - Social movements and collective action

Session 13 (Tuesday 11 Dec) – student presentations
Session 14 (Friday 14 Dec) - student presentations and course evaluation

Reading week -- hand in final essay Friday 21 Dec, before midnight

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students are able to:

  • Critically discuss theories of gender & development as well as gender-related development practices

  • Recognize and counter Eurocentric biases in feminist and developmentalist theories and practices

  • Embed discussions on women’s (presumed) disadvantages in broader discussions on social inequality, marginalization and empowerment.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 2-hour sessions twice a week (on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 pm, and on Fridays from 1 to 3 pm). The sessions will entail a mixture of plenary lecturing by the instructor or an invited expert, discussions of the assigned key reading, group-presentations by students, and interactive exercises.


  • In-class participation – 20% – Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7

  • Individual paper: literature review/reflection note (ca. 1000 words) – 20%

  • Group assignment: presentation and guided discussion in class (approx. 15 minutes) – 20%

  • Final analytical essay (ca 3000 words) – 40%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Readings consist of a selected key academic journal articles and book chapters as well as development sector reports that will be listed in the course syllabus.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact