Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Understanding Gender Inequality

Gender inequality is a key challenge in society. Explore its causes and consequences and consider the ways you can overcome it.

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $59 Find out more

Explore gender inequality in the workplace, family, and society

Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, and has been thrust into the spotlight with the recent #MeToo movement and HeForShe campaign.

On this course, you will understand the nature and consequences of gender inequality at work, in the family context, and in the media. You will also address what has been done to challenge gender inequality, and what still needs to happen in the future.

The University of Exeter brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the course that will build your awareness of gender issues and the ways to tackle it.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsWelcome to the gender equality MOOC, written by Emma Jeanes of the University of Exeter. The course runs over four weeks and should take about three hours each week. In it we explore the nature, causes and consequences of gender inequality The module acts as an introduction to gender inequality and covers some of the core ideas and concepts relevant to the topic. At the end of each week there are further resources for those who would like to explore the topic in more depth. Each week will comprise articles, videos, discussions and end of week tests so you can check your progress.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsIn the first week we introduce some of the core concepts, tackling questions such as: what do we mean by gender?, and gender inequality? We will provide some historical context to the nature and causes of gender inequality and also introduce the topic of intersectionality and the gendered nature of language. In the second week we explore gender inequality in the workplace, including the gendering of roles and occupations, gendered stereotypes, gender inequality in progression and its consequences such as the gender pay gap, the barriers facing women in the workplace, and sexual harassment. In the third week we explore gender inequality as it is manifest in the home, and society more widely.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsIn this week we will consider how certain spaces have become gendered, and provide some historical context to why women have been more traditionally associated with the home than men. We will explore the representation of women in politics and address why the nature of occupations matters when ensuring women have power. We will also explore notions of ‘ideal men’ and ‘ideal women’ and how they are represented in the media. We’ll take a particular look at how Hollywood influences our perceptions of gender. In the final week we discuss what can be done to tackle gender inequality in these various settings by considering what is currently being done to achieve gender equality and what more can be done.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsWe will also evaluate the effectiveness of some interventions and the extent to which there has been progress towards succeeding in making society more gender equal. Please take every opportunity to engage in the discussions to enhance your learning. Lauren We hope you enjoy the module and find it rewarding.

What topics will you cover?

  • Exploring ‘gender’ (as a construction in its binary and non-binary forms) and ‘(in)equality’ (in a legal and social sense), recognizing it as needing to be understood as intersectional, and both transnationally and as geographically/culturally located. This includes: the effect of tradition, social expectations, language, culture, masculinities and femininities, everyday practices and structures.

  • Exploring the ‘how’ of gender inequality in the context of the workplace (including political roles) – to cover gendered job roles, pay gap, opportunity and promotion (e.g. glass cliffs and glass ceilings), sexual harassment at work, confidence and leadership, political representation.

  • Exploring the ‘how’ of gender inequality in the context of the family and society – to cover the gender imbalance of domestic/caring roles, representations in media (incl. film and books) and the impact on body image, violence towards and control of women.

  • Challenging gender equality – exploring how things are changing and what else can be done. To include: changing awareness, changing the language, changing attitudes and changing structures. This will cover campaigns (e.g. #MeToo #HeForShe), legislation, practices (e.g. increasing participation in STEMM, training), measures, quotas and reporting (e.g. the Gender Pay Gap).

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 14 Oct 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain what is meant by ‘gender (in)equality’ and its core terms.
  • Describe how practices of gender inequality are sustained through gendered discourse and practice.
  • Discuss specific types of inequality (in the workplace, home and society at large) and their outcomes.
  • Identify and articulate practices that can effectively challenge and overcome gender inequality.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for people over the age of 16, preparing for higher education or to enter the workforce. No prior learning is required, however, participants should be aware of gender inequality issues through the media.

Who will you learn with?

Emma J

Emma J

Lecturing at the University of Exeter, Emma researches in the field of organisational behaviour with a particular focus on gender relations and workplace discrimination.

Who developed the course?

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

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