Globalization, Gender and Development

DEVS 260/3.0

Girl holding a globe above her head, facing the water


DEVS 260 Globalization, Gender, and Development is designed for those interested in undertaking a critical analysis of the gendered impact of the globalization process and development policies with a focus on women in the Global South.

Does globalization differentially impact women? Can women be really “integrated” into development? What does it mean to be a poor woman in the Global South? What do terms like ‘gender’, ‘empowerment’, ‘community building’, used freely by development agencies, imply in relation to women and men? What do we understand by feminization of poverty or feminization of agriculture? Can local feminism or transnational solidarity feminist linkages challenge globalization and reshape women’s lives?

The course answers these questions and more! It undertakes a critical analysis of the impact of globalization and development process and policies on the status of women in the Global South on the one hand, and the role of masculinity, sexuality, and patriarchy in shaping relations between men and women on the other hand. It constantly examines the intersections of these two processes on how poor rural and urban women’s and, by extension, men’s lives are shaped and changed. To facilitate an inter-disciplinary analysis, the course is divided in three sections.

The first section provides a theoretical foundation to the course by introducing key concepts and debates around gender and development.

It undertakes a feminist critique of globalization and development and the role of main actors in gender and development planning and policy implementation.

The second section undertakes a thematic study of the gendered impact of globalization and development processes on issues such as intimate gender relations, labour practices, agriculture, and migration strategies.

In the third part, the politics of engagement, at the local, national, and international levels by women through their resistance strategies, activism, political participation, and/or community mobilization.

Throughout the course, case studies are used to illustrate the challenges faced by men and women around the world and the gendered strategies of empowerment and activism.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will;

  1. Describe, theoretically and empirically, the gendered impact of globalization in the intimate realm of family and gender relations, reorganization of labour, modes of production, militarism, migration strategies, and provision of social services.
  2. Analyze and evaluate current trends in development programming and planning from a ‘gender’ lens.
  3. Identify and analyze models used for gender assessment and gender programming by development organizations and bodies. 
  4. Critically evaluate how diverse development models used by various actors in the development sector differentially shape policies and grassroots programs targeted for women across the globe.
  5. Critically analyze how images play a key role in our knowledge formation about people across the globe, and, by extension, our interest and humanitarian ‘investment’ on a global scale.
  6. Identify and deconstruct the role of stereotypes in shaping development programs and policies on one hand, and government interventions, on the other hand.
  7. Propose and evaluate possible solutions and action-oriented plans to gender-specific challenges that have arisen because of globalization, whether in the realm of reorganization of production, privatization of services, or increased militarism.
  8. Analyze transnational feminist engagement – activism and advocacy – undertaken by women in the Global South in response to globalization and erosion of human rights and social welfare.


Part 1: Theoretical Foundation

  • Week 1: Getting Gender into Development
  • Week 2: Theories for "Doing Gender" in Development
  • Week 3: Gender? Development? Analysing the role of "Actors in Development"
  • Week 4: Saving "Brown Women": Analysing the Crisis in Representation

Part 2: Thematic Study of the Gendered Impact of Globalization

  • Week 5: Globalization and CHanges in Gender Relations
  • Week 6: The Formal Economy and Gender - A look at the Garment Sector
  • Week 7: The Informal Economy and Women
  • Week 8: Agriculture and Women
  • Week 9: Gendered Migration and Care Work
  • Week 10: The Canadian Face of Globalization and Other Forms of Gendered Migration

Part 3: The Politics of Engagement

  • Week 11: Transnational Feminism and Advocacy - What is the Right Path?
  • Week 12: Local Activism and Alternatives to Globalization