Women, Politics and Public Policy
The objective of this course is to provide a foundation that will prepare students to understand and disentangle the policymaking process by using a variety of analytical tools. Simultaneously, it is designed to analyze the policymaking process from a gendered perspective. Thus, the emphasis of the class is twofold. On the one hand, we will analyze the role of women as policymakers: how they arrive at decision-making positions, how they exercise power, and how they establish and pursue their policy agendas and policy priorities. This section of the course runs parallel with the general theme of women and politics. On the other hand, we will learn how to use a variety of analytical frameworks to better understand the policymaking process while applying them to various policy areas and issues that have a distinct gender component, such as health, education, employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, and so on. In this section, the analysis will focus on how specific policy initiatives have had an impact on the lives of women (e.g., the Violence Against Women Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Obamacare). The focus of the course will be primarily on the United States, but a comparative perspective is also built into the topics covered and discussed. The comparison of the U.S. with other nations and cultures adds significant analytical breadth to any assessment of women’s social, political, and economic lives. It is also a rich approach to understanding the policymaking process in general.