KFL4050 – Theorising gender equality

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

How can we understand the societal and subjective dynamics involved in the reproduction of gendered inequalities in current liberal societies? Which emotional processes drive increased gender polarization in societies, families and work organizations and which processes serve to promote processes of de-gendering and democratization? How does gender intersect with other dimensions of inequality, hierarchy and exclusion? Focusing on these questions, this course presents different ways to understand and theorize gendered subjectivities, gendered relations and gendered inequalities in capitalist societies. The emphasis is on social theories on gender, their historical trajectories and epistemological underpinnings, as well as their divergences, explanatory potential and limitations. The course is structured around the following strands of thinking: sociological individualization theories, structuralist theories of gender oppression, intersectional theories, feminist organization theory, socialist feminist theory; cultural studies and psychosocial theory.

Learning outcome

The course will give an overview of key analytical tools to understand and analyse the dynamics that drive gender inequalities in current society. You will learn to identify and distinguish among different ways of understanding the relationship between gender and society as well as the dynamics involved in the reproduction of gender inequality in legally gender-equal societies. You will also learn to identify the strengths and limitations of different approaches and how those approaches relate to the diverse historical and institutional context in which they evolved, as well as how their strengths and limitations differ according to the research question. This will in turn provide you with enhanced analytic and reflexive skills. You will also be able to use gender perspectives to critically question and develop further classical social theories and to apply these gendered perspectives in theoretical discussions and empirical studies.

 Students will:

  • become familiar with different perspectives and theories of gender equality and inequality, including practice theoretical, structuralist, intersectional, discursive and psychosocial approaches
  • be able to identify, distinguish and evaluate key theoretical approaches to gender equality, polarization and democratization
  • be able to recognize important strengths and limitations of these theories and how these strengths and limitations are linked to different knowledge aims
  • be able to account of the impact of historical, institutional and geographical context for the development of theories of gender
  • be able to identify, distinguish and provide dialogue between different strands of thinking
  • be able to apply these theories in conducting research on questions that are linked to gender and other dimensions of inequality in todays’ society.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Right to study at the Master´s level. For international applicants: For further information about admission requirements and admission procedures for international applicants, please see our website admission to the University of Oslo.

Recommended previous knowledge

General knowledge of feminist theory is recommended. (for instance KFL1010 and KFL1020) or similar knowledge.


The course consists of 12 classes of 2 hours of teaching during the autumn semester. The teaching includes lectures and student activities. 



In order to take the exam, students must have completed the following requirements:

  • One mandatory oral presentation.
  • The presentation must be approved.

The exam will consist of: A three day take-home exam on a given topic.  The assignment must have a length of 10 pages, (450 words per page total 4500 words +/- 10% (not counting spaces) references and front page in addition).

Examinations in Inspera

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language