Semester Offering: January
This course aims to examine gender through power, contested in State institutions and the public sphere and exercised through various legal and policy instruments. It further aims to contextualize our knowledge of gender in its political past, underlining the important role the Nation-State has had in engendering spaces and identities while committing, condoning, or suppressing gender-based violence. In contrast, the course also aims to assess political participation and examine the role of the women’s movement, since such civil society mobilization is reinventing gender discourse, realigning power struggles, and consequently the locus of political action and development. The course has a final objective of examining norms and human rights instruments that both foster and inhibit political participation and gender equality.


The student on completion of this course would be able to:
     Formulate how gender matter in power-related and political issues within Asia
     Explain linkages between political institutions (especially the Nation-State), power, gender relations and women’s and men’s status and wellbeing
     Explain how various forms of resistance and political activism redefine power structures and their goals
     Distinguish different levels and layers of human rights instruments at the local, national, regional and international levels that specifically or subsidiarily address women’s rights and/or gender relations




I.      Gender Politics and the Nation-State
1.    Introduction
2.    Gender, politics and power
3.    Public/private divide
4.    Power and gender-based violence
5.    Nationalism, nationhood and gender
6.    Gender and the welfare State

II.     Political Representation, Participation and Civil Society
1.    Political systems and women’s political representation
2.    Political socialization and participation
3.    Local activism and mobilization in Asia: Civil Society, NGOs and the women’s movement
4.    Transnational activism and global networking

III.   Gender and Human Rights
1.    Legalizing gender: family, identity and sexuality
2.    Gendering laws and human rights: Role of States and Civil Society
3.    Gender equality, parity and antidiscrimination policies
4.    Culture, gender relations and women’s rights




1.   Fleschenberg, Andrea and Derichs, Claudia (Eds.), Women and Politics in Asia: A Springboard for Democracy?, Singapore: Inst of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012.
2.   Iwanaga, Kazuki (ed.) Women’s Political Participation and Representation in Asia: Obstacles and Challenges, Copenhagen: NIAS, 2008.


1.   Burghoorn, Wil, Iwanaga, Kazuki, Milwertz, Cecilia and Wang, Qi, Gender Politics in Asia: Women Manoeuvring with Dominant Gender Orders, Copenhagen: NIAS, 2007.
2.   Desai, Manisha, Gender and the Politics of Possibilities, Plymouth, UK, 2009.
3.   Davids, Tina and van Driel, Francien (eds), The Gender Question in Globalization, Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.
4.   Dobash , R. Emers, Women, Violence and Social Change, London: Routledge, 1992.
5.   Fausto-Sterling, Anne, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality, New York: Basic Books, 2000.
6.   Ford, Lynne E., Women and Politics,  London: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
7.   Hilsdon, Anne-Marie, Macintyre, Martha, Mackie, Vera and Stivens, Maila (ed.), Human Rights and Gender Politics: Asia Pacific Perspectives (Routledge Advances in Asia-Pacific Studies, 5), London: Routledge, 2006.
8.   Knop, Karen (ed.), Gender and Human Rights, Oxford: OUP, 2004.
9.   Naples, Nancy and Desai, Manisha (eds), Women’s Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics, London: Routledge, 2002.
10. Pateman, Carole, The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory, Stanford, CA: SUP, 1989.
11. Randall, Vicky, Waylen, Georgina, Gender, Politics and the State, London: Routledge, 1998.
12. Yeoh, Brenda S. A., Teo, Peggy, & Huang, Shirlena (eds.), Gender Politics in the Asia-Pacific Region, London and New York: Routledge, 2002.


     Politics and Gender (Cambridge University Press)
     Journal of Women, Politics & Policy (Taylor and Francis)
     Gender and Development (Taylor and Francis)
     Women’s Studies International Forum (Elsevier)
     International Feminist Journal of Politics (Taylor and Francis)


40 hours of lecture plus 10 hours of student-led seminars (equal to 5 lecture hours).. Students are expected to spend at least 6 hours of self-study per week, including required readings.


Lectures and instructor supervised and facilitated student discussions. Powerpoint slides will be used. A course review is also given before the final exam.


     one essay 20% (graded on: critical analysis, coherence, evidence used, references used, writing skills);
     one student-led seminar 20% (graded on: quality of the content, analysis that is fostered, extent of student participation, chairpersonship);
     midsem exam 20% (closed books);
     final exam 40% (entire content -close books).

In the exams, an “A” would be awarded if a student can contextualize the knowledge learned in class by presenting case studies from articles or news, and including required readings in their analysis. A “B” would be awarded if a student shows an overall understanding of all topics, a “C” would be awarded if a student meets below average expectation in terms of analysis, and a “D” would be awarded if a student does not meet basic expectations in analyzing or understanding the issues presented in the course.