Explore key gender and feminism issues

Sex and gender-based discrimination remains a very real issue in the modern world.

Despite years of progress which have seen the spread of women’s suffrage, women rise to highest offices in politics and business (albeit in small numbers), and anti-discrimation laws introduced in many parts of the world, we can certainly not be said to have reached anything approaching true equality.

Women are paid less for the same work. The gender pay gap stands at 14% in Australia, 17% in the UK, and 18% in the US. Globally, 29% of management positions are held by women, with more men called James than women heading Fortune 500 companies.

Transwomen, alongside other trans and nonbinary people, face even greater challenges. A 2017 UK report from Stonewall has shown that half of transpeople have hidden their identities for fear of discrimination, while a quarter have been homeless, and one in eight have been attacked by a colleague or customer while at work.

This is just to focus on the Global North. Things are naturally more complex in the Global South, where often conservative attitudes and limited access to education can exacerbate sex and gender-based discrimination.

Learn more with gender studies and feminism courses

For those who want to learn more about gender and feminism FutureLearn offers a range of online gender studies courses, exploring the progress we’ve made, feminist theory, and how we can progess further along the long road to equality.

Learners who want to look back over the history of feminism can study the history of universal suffrage in the UK, headed by the famous suffragette movement.

Coming to the modern day, a general introduction to gender inequality looks at how acknowledging problems is the first step to addressing them. Learners can then widen their purview with considerations of the role of gender in international development and the development of technologies that do not reinforce negative gender stereotypes.

A trans rights course offers practical advice on how to create more inclusive workplaces for employers and colleagues who would like to do better.

Finally, a course on assisted reproductive technology explores how science has changed the way we make babies in the 21st century, and the ethical questions around this.

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