Women in Europe


Semester 1, 2003-2004
Pre-requisites: Any Level 2 WS or PO or EC module
Co-requisites: None
Level 3, 15 credits
Wednesday morning, Wolverhampton, 10am - 1pm
Module leader: Penny Welch,
Other tutors: Gaby Steinke


In this module we analyse the status of women across Europe around the themes of rights, rewards and choices. Interrelationships between social change, the rise of feminist movements and women's participation in politics and paid employment will be explored. The influence of European integration and the impact of the collapse of communist systems on public policy affecting women are major themes in this module.

Learning Outcomes

Module Specific Outcomes: On successful completion of the module, students will be able to
  • Analyse the relationship between economic and political change and the emergence and development of feminist movements
    (Scope: First and Second wave feminism in Europe)
    (Assessment Component 2)
  • Assess the impact of feminist movements on selected areas of public policy
    (Scope: Political representation, employment, reproductive rights post 1968)
    (Assessment Component 1a)
  • Evaluate the contribution of information and communication technology to feminist organising and debate.
    (Scope: Contemporary sources by, for or about women on the internet)
    (Assessment Component 1b)

Personal Transferable Skills: On successful completion of the module, students will be able to

  • Communicate arguments effectively using speech/BSL
    (Scope: short in-class individual presentation)
    (Assessment Component 1a)
  • Use the Internet for research purposes
    (Scope: use search engines and links to explore a variety of web sites)
    (Assessment Component 1b)
  • Plan and manage effectively the exploration and retrieval of a wide range of information/analysis/opinion
    (Scope: indexes, official publications,books, journals, newspapers, web sites, electronic discussion groups)
    (Assessment Component 2)


  1. Introduction to module/Feminism in 19th Century Europe (PW)
  2. Second Wave Feminism in Europe: Theory and Practice (PW)
  3. Women and Politics(PW)
  4. Women and Work (PW)
  5. The Contemporary Women's Movement and Social Policy (KW)
  6. Case Study: France (PW)
  7. Case Study: Germany (GS)
  8. Case Study: Russia/Eastern Europe (PW)
  9. Case Study: Spain (PW)

Seminar Presentations

(Week 12)
Within the broad topic you have chosen for your seminar presentation, you should identify a specific issue, development or debate. Your presentation should last 8-10 minutes, should introduce specific sources and arguments to the group, and should pose 2 questions for discussion.
You should fill in your name and topic on the seminar assessment criteria sheet and hand it to the tutor at the beginning of the seminar.

Indicative Reading

Allwood, G. (1998) French Feminisms. London: UCL Press.
Anthias, F. and Lazaridis, G. (eds) (2000) Gender and Migration in Southern Europe. Women on the Move. Oxford: Berg.
Bock, G. and James, S. (eds) (1992) Beyond Equality and Difference. London: Routledge.
Caine, B. and Sluga, G. (2000) Gendering European History. Leicester: Leicester University Press
Ferreira, V. et al (eds) (1998) Shifting Bonds, Shifting Bounds: Women, Mobility and Citizenship in Europe. Oeiras, Portugal: Celta Editora.
Funk, N. and Mueller, M. (1993) Gender Politics and Post Communism. London: Routledge.
Griffin, G. & Braidotti, R. (2002) Thinking Differently - A Reader In European Women's Studies London: Zed Books 305.42094/THI
Hoskyns, C. (1996) Integrating Gender: Women, Law and Politics in the European Union. London: Verso.
Kaplan, G. (1992) Contemporary Western European Feminism. London: UCL Press.
Lovenduski, J. and Norris, P. (eds) (1993) Gender and Political Parties. London: Sage. Pilkington, H. (1996) Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia. London: Routledge.
Pillinger, J. (1992) Feminizing the Market: Women's Pay and Employment in the European Community. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Posadskaya, A. (ed) (1994) Women in Russia: a New Era in Russian Feminism. London: Verso.
Threlfall, M. (ed) (1996) Mapping the Women's Movement: Feminist Politics and Social Transformation in the North. London: Verso.

Other Resources

Bryson, V (1992) Feminist Political Theory. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Buckley, M and Anderson, M (eds) (1988) Women, Equality and Europe. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Dahlerup, D. (ed) (1986) The New Women's Movement: Feminism and Political Power in Europe and the USA. London: Sage
Evans, R (1977 ) The Feminists: Women's Emancipation Movements 1840-1920. London: Croom Helm.
Goldman, W (1993) Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life 1917-1936. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reynolds, S. (ed) (1986) Women, State & Revolution: Essays on Power & Gender in Europe since 1789. Brighton: Wheatsheaf.

C-D roms
Newspapers e.g.Guardian

Feminist Review
European Journal of Women's Studies
Women's Studies International Forum
Labour Research.

University of Wolverhampton Library Catalogue
Women in Europe Links
Women and Politics Links
Women's Movements Links

Web Materials
Full Reading List
Chronology on First Wave Feminism
Quotations on First Wave Feminism
Quotations on Second Wave Feminism
Quotations on Women and Politics
Quotations on Women in the Soviet Union/Russia/Eastern Europe

Teaching/Learning Methods

Tutor presentations, student-led seminars, class discussions

Assessment Methods, Weightings and Deadlines

Component 1 Component 2
You must get a D5 minimum in each component to pass the module.

Essay Programme

Essays should be between 2,500 and 2,800 words long and should be handed in to the Student Registry, clearly marked with the name of the relevant tutor, and accompanied by an assessment criteria sheet.
We welcome typed/wordprocessed essays.
Handwritten essays should be written on one side of the paper only.
It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your essay.
The last date for submission is 4pm on Wednesday January 14th ( 2nd Wednesday of term).
Leave a self addressed envelope for the return of your work by post or arrange a tutorial early in Semester 2.

Choose one of the following titles

  1. What were the main characteristics of the Women's Movement in France or Germany or Russia in the fifty years before the First World War? (PW)
  2. "Campaigns to achieve or protect rights to legal abortion have been the only united and effective campaigns waged by second-wave feminism in Western Europe" Discuss with reference to at least two countries. (PW)
  3. Using a selection of published studies, explain why women are still not equally represented in positions of political power in Europe. (PW)
  4. What do you understand by the term "equality for women in the labour market"? Discuss the main barriers to the achievement of this equality in either Western Europe or Eastern Europe. (PW)
  5. Choose one feminist theorist and outline her analysis of women's oppression. Evaluate the strategies for liberation she puts forward with reference to the concerns of feminists in one or more European countries today. (PW)
  6. Discuss the view that EEC initiatives on women's rights have benefited some women far more than others. (PW)
  7. "Equality. Legal equality, almost achieved, and real equality still an ideal". (Martilde Fernández, Minister of Social Affairs in Spain) Discuss (PW).
  8. "The institutionalisation of feminism in France has led to the death of the Women's Movement." Discuss. (PW).
  9. "(Freedom) arrived with Catholic organisations gaining more and more influence. It arrived with nude calendars, beauty contests, access to pornography, and even with a concept of women leaving their work and returning home to save the shaky Polish economy" (Yola Plakwicz, December 1989). Assess the problems and opportunities facing women in one or more East European countries today. (PW).
  10. To what extent has the economic change in Germany after 1990 influenced perceptions of women's roles? (GS)

Other points to remember


In some circumstances an extension may be granted. Please ensure that you obtain the appropriate Extension Form (AAO33) from a Campus Registry Student Access Point and then follow the procedure for obtaining signatures determined by your School. on is that such returns will be within a three working week period of the submission date.


Students gaining an E grade for the module will have the opportunity to resit/resubmit the relevant failed elements(s) at the first appropriate occasion. If successful, a grade of D5 will be recorded for the component. Those students with validated extenuating circumstances who have failed to complete part or all of the assessment will be offered the chance to complete the outstanding work without penalty at the first appropriate occasion. In both instances students will be notified of the precise retrieval/first sit requirements. Any queries should be addressed to the Student Access Point.
  • Seminar presentation - write out exactly what you would have said if presenting the paper in class, and include any handouts or OHPs that you would have used. Your "script" will be assessed according to the published criteria with the exception of 1 and 6 b
  • Essay - you may rewrite one essay with the same title or choose another title from the list. Pay particular attention to the criteria you failed on the first time round.
  • Critical review of Internet Sources - do the same exercise again on the same or a different topic.
Contact the Student Registry at City Campus for further details.


Students need to ensure they are properly registered on this module.

Created by Penny Welch September 2000/Updated October 2003

University of Wolverhampton
School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences

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