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Women in Society

Course Code: SOCI 2240
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Sociology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course investigates women's status in contemporary society, noting how this has changed drastically over time, with significant progress towards gender equality in many societies. While the course focuses primarily on understanding the experience of women in Canada today, it does so with reference to the historical and contemporary diversity in the situation of women both here and elsewhere in the world. The course examines how women's lives in any society are shaped by a variety of socio-cultural institutions such as the family, the educational system, the mass media and the workplace, and assesses the extent to which their socialization experiences continue to differ from those of men. The course explores the various different feminist analyses of women's oppression and their implications, and concludes by assessing how close we have come to completing the so-called 'gender revolution' that was initiated through twentieth century women's activism. Note: This course can count towards an Associate of Arts specialization in Gender, Sexualities and Women's Studies.

Course Content

  • Introduction and overview: why study women?
  • Fighting for gender equality: the changing status of women in the Western world.
  • Women's status worldwide.
  • Theorizing inequality: feminist analyses of women's status in society.
  • Biology, society, sex and gender: what makes women's and men's lives different?
  • Gender socialization: the role of family, peers and the education system.
  • The mass media and the social construction of femininity.
  • Linguistic sexism.
  • Gender and differences in verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Female sexuality and sexual relationships.
  • 'A woman's place'? The role of marriage and family in women's lives.
  • Women and paid work.
  • Women and equality: a stalled revolution?

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods, including the following: lectures, class debates, video presentations, guest speakers, discussions and other small group learning activities.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Test #1                        15%

Test #2                        15%

Final Exam                    25%

Reading Journal             20%

Research Assignment     25%

Total                           100% 

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with college policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Identify historical changes in the situation of women, especially within the Canadian context.
  2. Evaluate the situation of women in Canada within the context of women's status in other parts of the world.
  3. Compare and assess a range of sociological explanations for women's subordinate status in societies worldwide.
  4. Explain the history of the twentieth century women's movement and the differences between competing feminist theories of women's inequality.
  5. Explain the limitations of mainstream feminist theories within the changing Canadian cultural mosaic and discuss the emergence of complementary and alternative approaches.
  6. Discuss the significance of debates about the origins (biological and/or societal) of gender differences.
  7. Explain and assess the strengths and weaknesses of different theories of gender socialization.
  8. Discuss the role of the family, mass media and other socio-cultural institutions in shaping women's lives.
  9. Explain the evolution of women's work in the home and their progress in paid employment, and discuss the implications of these changes.
  10. Evaluate the success of the feminist movement(s) with regards to the contemporary status of women in Canada and elsewhere in the world, and consider the directions and potential for feminism in the future.
  11. Demonstrate competence in utilizing a variety of sources of sociological evidence in order to assess the current status of women in society.

course prerequisites

SOCI 1125 or SOCI 1145 or SOCI 1155

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.