POL S 313 A: Women In Politics

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 2:20pm - 5:00pm
MEB 246
Joint Sections: 
GWSS 313 A

Syllabus Description:


University of Washington-Seattle

Summer term (A) 2016



Instructor: Hind M. Ahmed Zaki

E-mail: hinda@uw.edu

Office: Smith 37

Office hours: MONDAYS 12:15-2:15 and by appointments

Course Website:  https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1086010


This course explores different approaches to understanding the origins and persistence of gender inequality on a global level.  We will seek to understand how gender, as a unit of analysis, influence the nature and practice of political life, as well as the ways in which sexual difference has served as a basis for social and political organization. For the first two weeks of this term, we will look at various explanations and approaches, both theoretical and empirical, that sought to explain the roots gender inequality, across both time and space. We will employ four analytical lenses to help us interpret what we see: Power, Economy, Culture and   Patriarchy. These lenses will help us understand how issues specific to women relate to mainstream debates in political science.


In the second two weeks, we will examine a range of substantive issues that concern women in a wide range of societies to gauge which kinds of explanations are the most persuasive.  In covering those issues, we will analyze the experiences of women comparatively, across a wide range of countries, societies and regions.   This course is based around   the following six motivational questions:


  • What does it mean to be politically powerful? In what ways have women achieved political power historically? How do we best understand women’s underrepresentation in the formal political arena? What are the main factors that impact this?


  • How could we understand male privilege as power? What is patriarchy and how can we define it?


  • How do we best explain the persistence of global gender inequality? What kinds of theoretical approach, methodologies, and tools for empirical analysis could best help us explain this? it best to use a combination of tools? Is gender inequality regional or culturally specific? What roles does culture, broadly defined, play in our understanding of women’s experiences in non-western countries?  How do nationalism and the global economy define women’s experiences across borders?


  • Are the relationships between gender, power, culture, markets and the state?  How do we understand the economic division of labor? What are the costs, and who bears them? How should we evaluate the costs and benefits?


  • How can we explain the rise of feminist movements in the advanced world? Is feminism global? What does feminism look like in the third world? Is feminism necessary a western construction, or can we talk instead about feminism(s)?


  • Could we talk of gender inequality as a global phenomenon? What kinds of variations exist between the experiences of women in the advanced industrialized world and the third world?



Through reading challenging texts, watching relevant films, engaging in class discussions, and completing a variety of written assignments, students are expected to sharpen their analytical, writing, and speaking skills, and to develop a critical perspective on global gender inequality and how to understand it.


This course will combine both lecture and discussion formats. Because of the nature of many of the topics that I teach, students find that my classes quite often include passionate, even heated, discussions of the material. I encourage these sorts of conversations and debates, as I believe that they provide excellent opportunities for refining one’s thinking and values.



Course assignments–from readings through exam questions–have been designed with these objectives in mind. To help you achieve these objectives, I commit to (1) actively linking our discussions to these ideas and (2) providing substantive, regular feedback on your work. In return, I expect each member of the class to commit to (1) putting a sincere, concerted effort into all assignments and (2) actively participating in class discussions.


Required Texts:

Pamela Paxton & Melanie M. Hughes, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective:  SAGE Publications, 2016 (Available in University Bookstore).


All of the other readings for this course will be available electronically on the course website at: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1086010


Course Requirements:

Students will be assessed according to the following required assignments:


Midterm exam: 20%

Final Paper: 30%

In class project and presentation: 20%

Readings Reaction Paper: 15%

Participation: 15%



Midterm: The midterm will be in-class and will solely cover course materials from the first two weeks of classes. It will consist of three short-essay questions and will be two-hours long. A study guide with possible exam questions will be posted on the course website one week before the exam.


Final Paper:  The final paper is not a research paper, but rather a paper that requires a close-reading of the course’s texts and lectures. You don’t need any outside resources for your final paper. Final papers are 8-10 pages long and are due on July 21st. Only hard copies delivered to my mailbox will be accepted. Towards the last couple of weeks of the quarter,


Class Project: In addition to an in-class midterm exam and a final paper, each student will do one in class-presentation/ project during the final week of the quarter. Possible ideas for those projects will be discussed on the first day of class. Those projects invite student to engage creatively with the course material and present one project on those themes. Projects should be fun and interactive, and should reflect one theme, application, or critique of any of the broader issues discussed during the course. You will be graded on how creative your project is, and how much it engages with the themes of the class. Each project will be presented in 15 minutes including a Q and A with the rest of the class.  Have fun and be innovative with this assignment! Group projects are a possibility and are in fact encouraged! You need to discuss your project with me by July 7th


Readings Reaction Paper: In addition, each student will be responsible for writing one reading reaction paper on one of the class readings. Each student will sign up to do a reading on the second day of class.  Reaction papers are due by 6:00 p.m. each day for the reading that is due in class the next day. Reaction papers are two pages long and should end with a few suggested questions for class discussion.  Papers should be posted by the student on the class website.  All the other students are expected to read each day’s reaction paper before coming to class. Each student will do a 10 minute presentation on the reading in class on the day it is due. Those presentations will count toward your participation grades, and are meant to stimulate class discussion.


Participation: Participation grades are not based on just attendance; it is based on active participation in class discussions. This is a small seminar, and thus your active participation is essential. I don’t grade the “correctness” of what you say, I will grade your merely on the quality of your efforts at being an active participant in class.  Questions count towards participation and there no question is considered irrelevant!


In addition to asking questions in class and engaging in class discussions generally, here are other things that count toward participation:


  • Short write-ups in class: Please be sure to bring a pack of index cards to class. We will do many of those throughout the quarter!
  • Your efforts in presenting your readings reaction paper, and engaging other students in the discussion that day through your questions and comments.



The main goal of all five class assignments is to allow students to critically analyze the readings and to develop a clearer understanding of the course’ main themes.  It is not enough to summarize the readings but you need to present your own views, and demonstrate an understanding of the main themes and issues presented.   A critical perspective in this class is rewarded and encouraged!



Instructor Responsibilities

My role in this course is to present course material; facilitate discussion, debate and critical analysis of the material, and to grade student assignments and exams.  I am not able to provide notes from class sessions you have missed, for any reason; I recommend that you exchange contact information with your classmates should you be absent and need information or notes.


I will be available during my regularly scheduled office hours each week, and am happy to set up an individual appointment with you if you are unable to come to my regular office hours.  I will also respond to e-mails, but I may take up to a business day to reply; please keep this in mind especially around exam and paper times!


Student Responsibilities

  • Preparation:

I expect you to come to class prepared not only to take in new material but to engage the material actively, in a participatory setting.  This means having done the readings and thought about them carefully, and coming to class ready to participate in discussions and learn from your peers.  The main purpose of the weekly go-posts is to help you do that.

  • Attendance:

Attendance is integral to your success in this course.   Please inform me ahead in case you will be missing class.  If you are ill, PLEASE STAY HOME!!


  • Participation

Active participation is essential to your own learning and to that of your peers.  All students are expected to be active discussants in each section; I may call on students as the quarter progresses.  I expect you to challenge each other, to listen to each other, and to build on others’ contributions.  Throughout the process, the one thing I will absolutely require is respect.  I expect each of you to be respectful of your classmates, and of me.  One of your most important tasks as a student is to learn to engage viewpoints other than your own and to challenge each other and the world around you, all while demonstrating respect at all times.


If there is anything that would prevent you from full participation and attendance, or anything I need to know from you on that account (for instance, if you are a student athlete, or have a disability) please notify me as soon as possible so we can work together to identify the appropriate steps to ensure your success in this course.


Grading Grievance Policy

All papers, exams, and other assignments will be graded according to a standardized rubric.  If you feel that I have made an error in grading your exam or paper, please bring it to my attention in the following way:

1) Carefully read the comments.

2) Wait at least 24 hours and re-read the comments.

3) Write a clear and specific statement (typed), highlighting specific illustrations of why you believe you were graded unfairly.  This should be a compelling argument that both fairly assesses your exam/paper, and objectively compares your exam/paper to the expected response.

4)  Email the statement to me at least one day before my office hours (or our scheduled appointment) and we can discuss it when we meet.

5) After our discussion, I will re-read the exam/paper and return it to you with a reevaluation.

6) Grade complaints should be submitted no later than one week after the return of the exam/paper.


Integrity in Scholarship and Original Work

I cannot stress highly enough the importance of integrity to your work as a student.  You are expected to adhere to University regulations regarding plagiarism at all times; anything less cheats not only your peers and everyone making original contributions to scholarship, but also yourself.  Any phrase, sentence, or argument that is not your original work must be properly credited and cited.  This applies as well to the overall structure of a paper or portion thereof.  See www.lib.washington.edu or ask me if you have any questions regarding appropriate citation.  Any student who fails to cite a source, or who uses another scholar’s idea and represents that idea as her or his own is plagiarizing.


There will be zero tolerance for plagiarism in this course or at the University of Washington at large.


If plagiarism is suspected, the paper or exam will be submitted, if necessary, to the appropriate University disciplinary officials.  Please do not hesitate to see me if you have any questions at any time about what constitutes plagiarism.  For your reference, the relevant policies of the department of political science may be found at: http://www.polisci.washington.edu/Dept_and_Univ_Policies.pdf

You are responsible for understanding and meeting these expectations.  Please review these policies carefully and be sure to speak to me if you have any questions about them.




  1. Attend class. You must attend class regularly. This course only last a little over four weeks and we will complete the same amount of work as a quarter long course. Your attendance and participation in class discussions will be key in your ability to keep up with the pace of this course.
  2. Do the reading before class. Completing the assigned readings is a necessary step in understanding the lecture and participating in discussions.
  3. Participate in class. One of the real benefits of both the size and time frame of the course is the opportunity it provides to engage in conversations about the material. Both your learning and the atmosphere of the class as a whole will benefit from spirited participation.
  4. Take advantage of your daily lives for practice. You encounter gender politics all the time. Take a moment to critically engage with what you see and hear in your daily life including conversations with friends, watching television, in other courses, at your job, etc. Bring any questions you might have to class! You will get bonus participation points for this!


On a more positive note, I sincerely look forward to being your instructor, and am sure we will have a great time together.  I encourage you to seek me out in office hours or over e-mail with any and all questions about the course.  I look forward to seeing you often during this quarter J   


Course Reading Schedule:


Week 1: Gender, Power and the State:


Monday, June 20: Introduction

Overview of the course: Main themes, Assignments and Expectations.  


Tuesday, June 21:  Gender, Power and Privilege: Introducing the Debates:

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies.” In Race and Reform (1988): 95-105.


Scott, Joan, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis”, The American Historical Review, Vol. 91, No. 5 (Dec., 1986), pp. 1053-1075.


Wednesday, June 22:  Women, Power and Representation:

Women, Politics and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter One. 

Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter Two (Optional)



Thursday, June 23:

Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter 3 and 4


Week 2: Gender and Political Representation:


Monday, June 27:

Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter 5

Wängnerud, Lena. 2009. “Women in Parliaments: Descriptive and Substantive Representation.” Annual Review of Political Science 12:51-69.  



Tuesday, June 28:

Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter 6 and 7


Wednesday, June 29:  

 Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapters 8 and 9.


Thursday, June 30:



Week 3: Women, the State and Economy:


Monday, July 4: Holiday!


Tuesday, July 5: Women and the State: Is the State good or Bad?

Wendy Brown, “Finding the Man in the State,” Feminist Studies 18: (1992) 8-34.


Johanna Kantola, Feminists Theorize the State, Chapter One.


Wednesday, July 6: Women and the Labor Market: Economic roots of Inequality: Experiences from the Global North:


*Women, Work, and Politics: The Political Economy of Gender Inequality: Chapters 1 and 3.  


Thursday, July 7: Women and the Labor Market: Economic roots of Inequality: Experiences from the Global South:


Ong, Aihwa. 1991. “The Gender and Labor Politics of Postmodernity” Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 20:279-309.


Barbara Ehrenreich, “Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy”: Excerpts.


The Cost of Caring: The New Yorker, April 11, 2016 online at: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/11/the-sacrifices-of-an-immigrant-caregiver


Week 4:  Regional Case Study (1): The Middle East and North Africa (MENA region):



Monday, July 11: Women, Islam and Oil: The Resource Curse debate:


 Ross, Michael, “Oil, Islam and Women”, American Political Science Review, 102:1, 2008, pp: 107-121.

Charrad, Mounira, “Kinship, Islam or Oil? Culprits of Gender Inequality, Politics and Gender 5 (4) 2009, pp: 546-552.



Tuesday, July 12: Political Participation and Political Change:


 Women, Politics and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapter 13


Marks, Monica, “Women’s Rights Before and After the Revolution: Chapter 10 in The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects, ed. Nouri Gana. Edinburgh University Press (2013), pgs. 224-251


Hoda El Sadda, “Article 11: Women Negotiating Power in Egypt, Open Democracy, 2015. Online at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/hoda-elsadda/article-11-feminists-negotiating-power-in-egypt 


Wednesday, July 13: Feminist Movements and Feminism in the region: Is Feminism Western?

Hoodfar, Homa and Sadeghi, Fatmeh, Against All Odds: The Women’s movement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Development, 52(2) 2009.


The Women’s Movement in Egypt, with Selected References to Turkey, Nadje S. Al-Ali.


Deniz Kandiyoti, “Disquiet and Despair: the gender subtexts of the Arab Spring, 2012. Online at: http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/deniz-kandiyoti/disquiet-and-despair-gender-sub-texts-of-arab-spring



Thursday, July 14:  Gender Based Violence in the wake of the Arab spring: How political is sexual violence against women?   


FIDH, Nazra For Feminist Studies, New Woman Foundation And the Upraising of Women in The Arab World” Egypt: Keeping Women Out (Sexual Violence Against Women in the Public sphere): 1-56 (56- 65 Optional). Online at: http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/egypt_sexual_violence_uk-webfinal.pdf


Tadros, Mariz. 2015.”Understanding Politically Motivated Sexual Assault in Protest Spaces: Evidence from Egypt (March 2011 to June 2013), Social and Legal Studies, 1-18.


Angie Abdelmonem. 2015. “Reconsidering de-politicization: HarassMap’s bystander approach and creating critical mass to combat sexual harassment in Egypt ». Online at : https://ema.revues.org/3526


Hind Ahmed Zaki, 2016. ‘Tunisia uncovered a history of state sexual violence : Can it do anything ? Washington Post, Monkey Cage, April 2016. Online at : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/04/11/tunisia-uncovered-a-history-of-state-sexual-violence-can-it-do-anything/


Week 5:  Conclusions:


Monday, July 18:   Reconsidering Feminism?

Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective: Chapters 16.


Scott, Joan, “Gender: Still A Useful Category of Analysis? Diogenes 225: 7–14, 2010.


Yaszek, Lisa. “I’ll be a post- feminist in a post patriarchy, or, Can We Really Imagine Life after Feminism?” Posted on the Electronic Book Review (2005) at:



Tuesday, July 19:  Students presentations or Day off depending on the number of projects and time. (TBD)


Wednesday, July 20:   Student Project Presentations.


Thursday, July 21:  Final Paper Due at 2 pm (Hard copy delivered at Instructor’s Mailbox).  NO SOFT COPIES WILL BE ACCEPTED!



Catalog Description: 
Theoretical, historical, and empirical studies of women's participation in political and social movements. Women's diverse efforts to improve their political, social, and economic status. Policy issues of particular concern to women. Women's political experiences in household, local, regional, national, and international arenas. Offered: jointly with GWSS 313.
Department Requirements: 
American Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:36pm