Semester Offering: August

The objective of the course is to provide students the knowledge on women’s economic empowerment. The course is designed to analyze gender aspects of business management, both in micro- and large enterprise/ organizations under the globalizing economy. In the first half of the course, we examine how women in many parts of Asia play a role as managers of household economy and dominate “micro-enterprises” and the informal economy, and whether or not they are able to translate their small business into stronger negotiation power and recognition in society. In the latter half, role of women in large-scale enterprises and organizations, whether in the government or corporate sectors, is explored. In both sessions, policy and program support to facilitate women’s advancement in these fields are discussed.


Students, on completion of this course, are expected to be able to
-       identify and present key gender issues faced by micro-entrepreneurs under globalizing economy,
-       critically assess current gender-responsive support measures for micro-enterprises,
-       identify and analyse gender issues in organizations and conduct gender analysis of organizations.




I.        Women in micro-enterprises and informal economy
1.      Women’s poverty and enterprise development
2.      Women in informal economy: characteristics of micro-enterprise, street vending and homeworking
3.      Opportunities and constraints of women in micro-enterprise
4.      Policy/program support for women’s micro-enterprises
II.         Financial services for micro-enterprises
1.      Different approaches for financial service provision
2.      Access to credit and women’s empowerment
3.      Credit and training
III.       Social security and women workers
1.         What is social security/ protection?
2.         Women’s needs for social security
3.         Social security/ protection for women in the informal economy
IV.       Issues, opportunities and challenges for women entrepreneurs
1.      Code of conduct and Corporate Social Responsibility
2.      Social enterprise and social investment
3.      Green jobs, BOP business
4.      How would women’s micro-enterprises benefit from these opportunities?
V.        Gender issues in organizations
1.      Sex segregation in workplace
2.      Sexual harassment
3.      Wage differentiations
4.      Women in management: Career development and leadership
5.      Work and family conflict
6.      Networking and mentoring
VI.       Gender and organization change
1.      Organizational culture and gender stereotypes
2.      Organizational gender analysis
3.      Facilitating change in organizations


There is no lab session, but there is field work to organizations.


No designated textbook, but class notes and handouts will be provided.


1.     Bhowmik, S. (2010) Street Vendors in the global urban economy, Routledge
2.     Chen, Martha Alter Chen, Joann Vanek, and Marilyn Carr (2004) Mainstreaming informal employment and gender in poverty reduction,Commonwealth Secretariat
3.     ILO (2010) Global wage report 2010/11: Wage policies in times of crisis, International Labour Office, Geneva. (part II)
6.     Kabeer, N. (2001) “Conflicts over credit: Re-evaluating the empowerment potential of loans to women in rural Bangladesh”, World Development, 29 (1).
7.     Kabeer, N. (2008) Mainstreaming gender in social protection for the informal economy, Commonwealth secretariat.
8.     Kabeer, N. (2012) “Women’s economic empowerment and inclusive growth: Labour markets and enterprise development”, Discussion paper 29/12, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
9.     Lewis, D. et al. (2003) “Practice, power and meaning: Framework for studying organizational culture in multi-agency rural development projects”, Journal of International Development, 14, 547-557.
10.   Molyneux, M. and Thomson, M. (2011): Cash transfers, gender equity and women's empowerment in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, Gender & Development, 19:2, 195-212
11.   Pearson, R. (2007) “Beyond women workers: gendering CSR”, Third World Quarterly, 28:4, 731-749.


1.      Feminist economics (Taylor and Francis)
2.      Gender, work and organization (Wiley)
3.      Gender, technology and development (SAGE)


The course consists of 25 hours of lecture and class discussion, 8 hours of classroom exercise/ field visit and discussion, and 6 hours of student presentation. Students are expected to read assigned readings and actively participate in class discussion.


The course is based on lecture and class discussion. For organizational analysis, some hands-on classroom exercises are introduced. There are student presentations as well as field visit to home-based workers.


The grade is based on:
  • mid-semester exam 30% (content till mid-semester -open book);
  • country paper presentation 10% (graded on: verbal skills, critical analysis),
  • review paper on cases from different countries 30%(graded on: critical analysis, coherence, strengths of argument, writing skills),
  • final exam 30% (content latter half - open book).

In the exams, “A” would be awarded if a student can elaborate on the content discussed in class and able to provide own gender analysis on specific cases. A “B” would be awarded if a student shows an overall understanding of topic covered in class. A “C” would be awarded if a student meets below average expectation on both understanding and analysis. A “D” would be awarded if a student does not meet basic expectation in analyzing or understanding issues covered in the course.