Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines > Senior Freshman > Gender, Work and Family

Gender, Work and Family

SO2343 Gender, Work and Family (10 ECTS credits)

Lecturer(s): Dr Jemimah Bailey and Dr Pablo Gracia

Module Content/Outline:

The first half of the module looks at the social construction of gender and how it shapes the organisation of education and working lives.  It introduces theoretical explanations for gender differences, and examines them in areas such as education, work, housework, childcare and social policies. Examples from Ireland are used to illustrate the shifting dynamics of gender and work in recent decades, alongside international perspectives which provide a comparative view of change.
The second half of the module builds on the first by examining in detail a central social institution: the family. Critical questions for understanding contemporary societies and family relations will be discussed, using current theoretical and empirical approaches: How can we conceptualise, operationalise, and investigate family relations today?  Has the nuclear family always held the same status in Western societies over the last centuries? Which demographic changes have occurred in family life and family relations over the last decades? How does the family work as an institution in (re)producing social inequalities? Which is the role of social policy in influencing family outcomes across different national contexts?

Learning Objectives:

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Outline the main theories explaining gender differences in work and family life;
    • Develop analytical, methodological, and critical skills to analyse family and gender relations
    • Engage with concepts such as occupational segregation, the gender wage gap, glass ceiling, work-life conflict;
    • Understand factors underlying the changes in gender and work in Ireland in the past 20 years;
    • Recognise how gender intersects with other aspects of difference and diversity;
    • Outline different theories of the family from Functionalist, Marxist, Weberian, Conflict, and Feminist perspectives;
    • Approach the family as a social institution from a historical as well as a contemporary sociological perspective;
    • Discuss the ‘family values crisis’  and the pluralisation of family forms in contemporary society;
    • Engage in an understanding of the links between families and inequalities;
    • Assess empirically the role of work-family policies from a cross-national perspective.

    Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

    Two lectures and one tutorial per week

    Workload: Lectures: 44 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 44 hrs; Self-study: 140 hrs. Total: 250 hours.

    Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:

    • Wharton, A. (2012) The Sociology of Gender: An Introduction to Theory and Research, Second editionWiley-Blackwell.
    • Padavic, I. and Reskin, B (2002) Women and Men at Work, Second edition. Pine Forge Press.
    • McKie, L. and S. Callan (2012) Understanding Families: A Global Introduction. Sage.
    • Gray, J., Geraghty, R., and Ralph, D. (2016) Family Rhythms: The Changing Texture of Family Life in Ireland. Manchester University Press.
    • Cohen, P.N., (2015). The family: Diversity, inequality, and social change. WW Norton.
    • Coltrane, S. (2004) Families and Society: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth 
    • Collins, R. and Coltrane, S.  (1995). Sociology of Marriage and the Family: Gender, Love, and Property (Fourth Edition).  Chicago:  Nelson-Hall


    The first half of the year is assessed by coursework (50%).

    The second half of the year is assessed by annual exam (50%).

    Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Failure to attend at least half of the tutorials will automatically result in a 10% (one full grade) deduction from the overall module grade.

    Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade

    Examination: 1 x 3-hour end-of-year examination