GSWS 350 Public Policy for Women

July 18, 2018


Professor: Dr. Tiffany Muller Myrdahl
Office: AQ 5092
Office hours: Wednesdays 10:00 – 13:30 or by appointment
Lecture: Fridays 9:30 – 13:20; WMC 2200

Course Description:

In Canada, profound shifts are occurring in the ways that women and gender inequalities are treated in public policy. The progressive changes that characterized the results of earlier feminist action have been undermined despite the rise of gender mainstreaming. This course will address the reasons behind, and responses to, these changes at different scales of government (e.g., municipal, First Nations, provincial, federal). The course will also interrogate how policies are explicitly or implicitly gendered and racialized, and will use an intersectional lens to identify what characterizes public policy that meets women’s diverse needs. The course will expose students to current public policies and their relationship to women on a wide range of topics (including, but not limited to, child care, housing, economic security, and safety). An integral part of this course is student research into and analysis of existing public policy. Students will also observe and analyze the 2018 municipal elections in the Lower Mainland.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify a broad range of policy tools across institutions, NGOs, and all scales of government.
  • Use an intersectional lens to understand the relationship between policy tools and women’s lives.
  • Examine how women influence public policy to meet their needs.
  • Use field work and analytical writing to examine the policy landscape in practice.

Educational Goals:

For more detailed information please see the GSWS website:

Course Texts and Courseware:

Various texts (municipal policies, policy analyses, journal articles, etc.) available on Canvas, online, and/or via SFU library databases.

Course Evaluation and Assignments:

Attendance & class participation                                20%
Article summary & discussion question                   15%
Municipal election field work & analysis                  30%
Policy review & presentation                                       35%

Prerequisite: 30 Units

Students with credit for POL 350 or GSWS 320 (or WS 320) under this topic may not take this course for further credit.

The department of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies encourages clarity of thought and expression and good writing.  Students will be evaluated on these skills in all courses given by the department.

In addition, the department will follow policy t10.02 with respect to “intellectual honesty,” and “academic discipline” (