Professor:         Marina Adler, Ph.D.                   

Office:               232 Public Policy Bldg  

Phone:              410-455-3155 (I can best be reached via e-mail)                           

Office Hours:     Tue, We 3-4 and by appointment            


Home Page:     



This course has an international focus and is organized around issues and areas of the world.  We will cover the material in several parts.  First, we will examine the theoretical and empirical issues relevant to the sociological study of gender-work-family intersections, such as gender inequality, paid and care work, childcare, dual-earner couples, the feminization of poverty, and relevant work/family policies.  Attention will be given to historical and cultural context, empirical research findings and theoretical developments in studying issues relevant to understanding women’s experiences.  We will initially focus on current research on gender, work and family in the U.S. and quickly move on to nations in Western and Eastern Europe as well as selected developing countries. During the course students should learn to:

ü       understand key concepts related to gender, work and family in historical and comparative perspective.

ü       understand current empirical patterns related to variations in work and family related issues for women and men.

ü       analyze, compare, synthesize, and critique scholarly work in this research area.

ü       ask and answer important questions related to American policy based on international comparisons.

According to the dictionary, a seminar is "a group of advanced students studying with a professor, each doing some original research and all exchanging results by informal presentations, reports and discussion."  This course is intended to be a participatory experience.  It includes short lectures, lengthy discussions, films, and analytic exercises. These activities, including student participation, are aimed at sharpening critical thinking and debating skills.  Another agenda is that students will apply social science methodology to examine and understand how societal structures affect their lives in a "gendered" fashion.  The international nature of the course exposes students to a variety of cultural patterns in the links among household, economy and society. Students are encouraged to examine and question structures of dominance inherent in work and family systems, which are maintained through economic and cultural forces.  Intellectual curiosity, initiative, eagerness to learn, and willingness to work hard will be rewarded.  I am hoping we can establish a comfortable learning environment based on cooperation and collaboration rather than competition.  One goal for this course is to create a sense of community.  In order to accomplish this you need to take a productive role in your educational experience and actively engage in this class. 




1.       Drew, E., R. Emerek, E. Mahon.  1998.  Women, Work, and Family in Europe.  Routledge: New York. [denoted as Drew et al.]

2.       Ehrenreich, Barbara and Arlie Hochschild (eds.).  2004. Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy.  Owl Books: New York. [denoted as E&H]

3.       Heymann, Jody.  2000.  The Widening Gap.  Basic Books: New York. [denoted as Heymann]

4.       Readings some of which are only available in two binders on library reserve, others are under Course Documents on Blackboard (BB)

Reading, Class Participation, and Attendance

The readings are assigned for each class meeting and students are expected to be familiar with the material when it is assigned.  Because this course is taught as a seminar, students should attend class regularly, inform the instructor of scheduling problems, and be prepared to summarize and critique the assigned readings.  The instructor reserves the right to ask students specific questions about the assigned materials.  Students are required to use Blackboard (BB).  It is the students’ responsibility to become informed on how to use BB.  Make sure your UMBC email account is working and you check your e-mail and BB periodically for posted messages and announcements regarding assignments and schedule changes.  Throughout the semester I will e-mail you additional articles relevant to the class (or post them on BB). 

For each assigned reading or webpage students should prepare reactions to the information (best and worst) by answering the following 2 questions (TYPED):

(1)     WHAT was the most important or interesting sentence/statement/argument in the reading and WHY do you think this is the case?  Include author and page number.

(2)     WHICH sentence/statement/argument in the reading do like least or disagree with and WHY?  Include author and page number.

These reactions will form the basis for in-class discussion and will be collected several times in the semester.  They vary in points for a cumulative semester maximum of 100 possible points.


Take Home Essay Exams

Replacing in-class exams are 2 take home essay exams.  At two times indicated on the schedule, all students will prepare essays consisting of answers to questions about materials covered in class and especially the readings. You may turn them in in class as a typed hard copy or, in exceptional circumstances, via e-mail.  Handwritten work will NOT be accepted (no exceptions).  Graduate students are expected to discuss more readings in a more thorough manner than undergraduates.


Research Paper

All students enrolled in this class have to complete a research paper.  Students will select a country of interest not covered in class, and for which sufficient data are available.  The issues to be examined may include historical patterns, policies, and statistics on gender, work and family characteristics. The webpage browsing assignments for the first few weeks are designed to aid students in their choice of country and issue.  This research paper can take any of the following forms:

a.         You examine a specific research question involving a gender, work and family issue historically (changes over time) for a country not covered in class.

b.         You examine existing contemporary data to answer a research question about an aspect of gender, work and family for a country not covered in class.

c.         You compare two countries, at least one of which is not covered in class, with respect to a research question related to gender, work and family, either historically or in the present.

Students have to submit a paper topic outline for approval by the date specified on the syllabus.  This outline should cover (1) the main country/ies you wish to examine (choose one that is not covered by course readings and for which lots of data are available), (2) your research questions and focus and how this is related to gender, work and family intersections, (3) the specific types of data and variables you will examine to answer your questions, and (4) a tentative reference list of data, webpages, and recent literature sources.  After getting your research idea approved, you will turn in parts of the project on the due dates to get my suggestions for revision.  The parts are Introduction (states the issues studied, research question, and explains in context why it is important), Literature Review (reviews previous studies dealing with the topic and relates them to this paper), Data tables and Results (shows the relevant data from various sources that were used to answer the research question and explains how the data are relevant), and Conclusion (pulls the paper together and states how the research question was answered). The final paper with all parts is due at the end of the semester.  It should employ non-sexist language, and address the issues clearly and succinctly. 

Students enrolled in SOCY/WMST 433 (undergraduates) may choose to work in pairs.  You have to review at least 10 recent research articles related to your research idea.  Your paper will have at least 15 pages, including data tables and reference list.  

Students enrolled in SOCY/WMST 633 (graduate students) are expected to work independently, should review at least 20 sources, and turn in a graduate quality research paper (usually about 25 pages including tables and references). You are also required to present the paper in class for another grade at the end of the semester.  I expect all work to be of professional quality, i.e. to be original with sole authorship of the course participants. 


Extra Credit

You may receive a maximum of 20 extra credit points by (1) bringing in newspaper/magazine clippings dealing with a work-family issue, including your brief comments on how they are relevant to the course (2 points for each); (2) writing a reading reaction on any articles I send you via email that are not part of the regular assignments – some are on BB under food for thought (5 points for each); (3) attending a relevant event and writing about the experience (needs to be approved by the professor and points will be discussed then); or (4) by keeping a "course journal", which contains your personal reactions to readings, films, discussions and other related materials related to your "learning" about the issues (up to 20 points). 



Final grades are determined by the total number of points earned in the semester based on one (1) research paper, two (2) take home exams, and (10) reactions to webpages and readings.  Graduate students also have to present their paper and write one (1) book review.  Participation in class meetings (regular attendance, timely completion of assignments and exercises) will decide borderline grades.  Excessive absences or tardiness will affect your final grade negatively.  If, at any time during the semester you encounter difficulties or special circumstances, contact the instructor immediately in order to work out solutions as soon as possible.


The points for the final grade are calculated as follows:

UG/433             Grad/633

1 Research Paper          @         100 points=       100(15 pgs)       100(25 pgs)

2 Take home exams       @           50 points=       100                   100

Reactions/partic.            @         variable pts =     100                   100

1 Paper presentation      @          25 points=       ----                     25

                                                                                    ____                 ____

                                                            Total                 300                   325


Assessment of course work

In general you can expect a B grade if you attend class regularly, participate, complete good assignments on time, and produce a solid research paper or exam.  Especially insightful in-class participation, extra effort, and excellent written work will increase the grade.  Sloppy and/or late work, infrequent class attendance and participation will reduce the grade.  Specifically, an A means excellent work, which demonstrates comprehensive command of course content, exceptional ability to apply concepts, superior ability to organize and express ideas, and critical thinking, good attendance and participation.  A B means good work, which demonstrates solid command of course content, good ability to apply concepts, good organization and expression of ideas, regular attendance and participation.  A C means fair work, implying acceptable command of course content, basic ability to apply concepts, and moderate organization and expression of ideas, moderate attendance and participation.  A D means marginal work, with little command of course content, some ability to apply concepts, and limited ability to organize and express ideas, irregular attendance and participation.  An F means unacceptable work and implies lack of command of course content, inability to apply concepts, to organize and express ideas, lack of attendance and participation.




You are responsible for being informed about any scheduling changes or announcements about assignments made in class, on Blackboard, or via e-mail.  Plan ahead in completing the assignments.  For your own protection, photocopy all assignments before turning them in.  Always make sure you have a duplicate file of your work on disk. 

Make-up exams are only given with a valid reason and evidence thereof (such as a doctor's note, dated accident report, obituary notice, etc.) for missing the scheduled exam.  It is the responsibility of the student to prepare assigned materials on time and to discuss problems with deadlines with the instructor.  Deadlines for assignments missed without promptly (contact the instructor as soon as possible) presenting a valid excuse and conference with the instructor will be counted as "0" points for the assignment (no exceptions). 

Academic Misconduct

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC’s scholarly community in which everyone’s academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty.  Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong.  Academic misconduct can result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.  To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory.  

Academic misconduct may include but is not limited to the following (adapted from UMBC’s policy):



Readings are due on the date they are mentioned on the schedule, i.e., read Ollenburger, etc. and browse webpages by September 8.


Week 1: 9/1      Introduction to the course

Goals of the course

Overview of the issues related to gender, work and family


Ø       Start reading and browsing the web and write a reaction for next time!


Week 2: 9/8      Studying gender, work and family intersections – feminist and sociological theory

Definitions of concepts - gender, work, the family


Browse the following webpages on less developed nations for possible paper ideas and turn in reaction (10 pts): (go to “women’s rights”) (go to “women of the world”, “statistics and indicators” and “thematic issues” (gender and food security) (resources on int’l women’s issues)

** if interested in Africa or Middle East go to: (Programme on the governance in the Arab regions)


Ø       Ollenburger, Jane and Helen Moore.  1998.  “Sociological Approaches to the Study of Women” and “Feminist Approaches to the Study of Women”  pp.1-34 in A Sociology of Women.  The Intersection of Patriarchy, Capitalism, and Colonialization.  Prentice Hall.

Ø       Mosse, Julia Cleves.  1993.  “What is Gender?” Pp. 1-8 in Half the World, Half a Chance.  Oxfam Publ: London.

Ø       Coltrane, Scott.  1998.  “The Social Construction of Gender and Families.”  Pp. 1-25 in Gender and Families. Pine Forge Press.


Week 3: 9/15    Studying gender, work and family in historical perspective

The historical separation of paid work and care work in society and sociology


Browse the following webpages on developed nations for paper ideas and turn in reaction (10 pts):

(browse reforms, country info, and news for possible paper topics)

(browse country profiles) (browse work and family links) (European social policy experiences)


Ø       England, Paula, M. Budig, and Nancy Folbre.  2002.  “Wages of Virtue: The relative pay of care work.”  Social Forces 49:455-473. [pdf file on BB]

Ø       Cancian, Fancesca and Stacey Oliker.  2000.  “Historical Glimpses” pp.13-36 in Caring and Gender.  Pine Forge Press.

Ø       Heymann, Chapters 1 and 2.


Week 4: 9/22    Effects of the "gendered" economy and family

The feminization of poverty

Paper Topic Outline due

Peer review of topics


Ø       Coltrane, Scott.  1998.  “Paid Work and Family Life.”  Pp. 53-74 in Gender and Families. Pine Forge Press.

Ø       Heymann, Chapters 3 and 6.


Week 5: 9/29    Effects of the "gendered" economy and family

Dual earner families and their children


Turn in reaction to (click on any of the countries on top to see the data; browse the UNECE page; click on the EUROSTAT Website, select EN for English, then go to news, just published, and “How is the time of Europeans distributed?”) (10 pts)


Ø       Bailyn, Lotte, R. Drago and T. Kochan.  2001.  Integrating work and family life. A holistic approach.  Report of the Sloan Work-Family Policy Network.  Executive Summary.  [pdf file on BB].

Ø       Heymann, Chapters 4,5,7.

Ø       E&H, p.142-153


Week 6: 10/6    International perspectives on work and family

Men between work and family

Take Home Essay 1 due


Ø       Lewis, Susan.  1999.  “An international perspective on work-family issues.”  Pp.91-103 in Saroj Parasuraman and Jeffrey Greenhaus. (eds.).  Integrating Work and Family.  Praeger: Westport, CT. 

Ø       European Commission. 1998.  “ Men within family and work.”  European Network of Family and Work.  New Ways 2/98.   

Ø       Drew et al., p. 1-35 and p.191-207.

Ø       Brown, Brett et al.  2001.  “Fathers’ activities with their kids.” Child Trends Research Brief.  [pdf file on BB].


Week 7: 10/13  Western Europe: The example of Germany

Work and family pre- and post-unification


Read the following two articles and write a reaction to them: (10 pts)

Karen Christopher “Family-friendly Europe”

Carol Hyman “U.S. has higher birth, marriage rates than Western Europe, despite lack of family-friendly policies”


Ø       Adler, Marina A. 2002. "German Unification as a Turning Point in East German Women’s Life.”

Course: Biographical Changes in Work and Family Roles."  Sex Roles 47:83-98.   

Ø       Heymann, Chapter 8.


Film clips shown in class: My Second Life


Week 8: 10/20  Comparative family policy

Examples from Scandinavia


Turn in reading reactions to all readings (10 pts):

Ø       Drew, Emerek and Mahon, p.36-46, p.140-149, p. 159-169

Ø       E&H, p. 1-14.


Week 9: 10/27  Examples from Eastern Europe

Developments after socialism

Paper draft “Introduction” and “Literature Review” due

Peer review of drafts (5 pts)


Ø       E&H, p.15-38.

Ø       Beneria, Lourdes.  1997.  "Capitalism and socialism:  Some feminist questions." pp.326-333 in Visanathan, Nalini et al. (eds). The Women, Gender, and Development Reader.  ZED Books: Atlantic Highlands, NJ.


Week 10: 11/3  Introduction to the post-colonial world

Issues and trends related to colonialism, imperialism, and globalization


Browse at least 3 articles on this website and turn in reaction (10 pts):


Ø       Mosse, Julia Cleves.  1993.  “Why Development is a Gender Issue” pp. 9-28 in Half the World, Half a Chance.  Oxfam.

Ø       Lindsey, Linda.  1997.  "Global Perspectives on Gender."  Pp. 126-159 in Gender Roles.  Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River.

Ø       E&H, p.39-114


Week 11: 11/10 Developing countries: Examples from Asia

Control over women in India and Thailand


Turn in reading reactions to all readings (10 pts):

Ø       Komarraju, Meera.  1999.  “The Work-Family Interface in India.”  Pp.104-114 in Saroj Parasuraman and Jeffrey . Greenhaus. (eds.).  Integrating Work and Family.  Praeger: Westport, CT.

Ø       E&H, p.115-141; p.154-229

Ø       Sen, Amartya.  2001. “Many faces of gender inequality.” [pdf file on BB].


Film clips shown in class:  Sex Tourism


Week 12:11/17  Developing countries: Examples from the Middle East

Control over women in Jordan, Iraq, and Afghanistan (before and after 9/11/2001)


Turn in reading reactions to all readings (10 pts):

Ø       Human Rights Watch. 2002. “Taking Cover: Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan” [on BB].

Ø       Human Rights Watch. 2004. “Honoring the killers: Justice denied for “honor” crimes in Jordan” [on BB]

Ø       Paine, Tom. 2004. “Betraying Iraqi women” at:

Ø       Kerr, Joanna. 2001. “International trends in gender equality work.” [pdf file on BB]

Ø       E&H, p.230-285


Week 13:11/24  Thanksgiving:  No class           Enjoy, but work on your paper!


Week 14: 12/1 Developing countries: Examples from South America and Africa

Control over women in Mexico, and Sub-Saharan Africa

Paper draft “Data tables, Results, Conclusion” due

Peer review of drafts (5pts)


Turn in reading reactions to all readings (10 pts):

Ø       Arriaga, Estiballiz. “Women in Mexico.” [on BB].

Ø       Fernandez-Kelly, Maria Patricia. ` 1997.  "Maquiladoras: The view from the inside." Pp.203-215 in Visanathan, Nalini et al. (eds.) The Women, Gender, and Development Reader.  ZED Books: Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

Ø       The Millennium Project.  Interim report on gender inequality. Page 37-70. [pfd file on BB]

Ø       Graduate students only: skim through (focus on statistics and concepts) Women, Gender and Work by the International Labor Organization.  2001. [pdf file on BB]


Film clips shown in class: Stossel – Why we are number 1


Week 15: 12/8              International comparisons: Theory and policy

Strategies for empowerment and global change

Take Home Essay 2 due


Ø       Friedman, Dana E. and Arlene A. Johnson.  1999.  “Moving from Programs to Culture Change: TheNext Stage for the Corporate Work-Family Agenda.”  Pp.192-208 in Saroj Parasuraman and

Jeffrey Greenhaus. (eds.).  Integrating Work and Family.  Praeger: Westport, CT.

Ø       Bailyn, Lotte.  1999.  “The Impact of Corporate Culture on Work-Family Integration.”  Pp.209-219

in Saroj Parasuraman and Jeffrey Greenhaus. (eds.).  Integrating Work and Family.  Praeger:

Westport, CT.

Student presentations - bring some goodies to share!


Research Paper due 12/15, 12 noon my mailbox.