Why I Love My Comparative Politics of Gender Inequality Class
This semester I am taking Professor Claire Ullman’s seminar on Comparative Politics of Gender Inequality, and wanted to share a few reasons why I love the course!
1) It’s not “just another class about feminism.” Upon seeing the title of the course, I thought it would be a class about how women need to work hard to become respectable figures in the political sphere. And while we do address that issue, it is just one of the many topics covered in the class. This semester, we have talked about why a gender gap exists in political participation, why there isn’t equal representation between men and women in political roles, why women in office don’t necessarily advocate for women’s issues, and much more.
2) We read a lot of different types of research in class. Political Science courses at Barnard and Columbia have different reading requirements: some classes will read from the same textbook throughout the semester, some require students to read different books, but in this class we read research from different scholars every week. Seeing constant examples of thorough and engaging research papers has helped with writing my own at the end of the semester.
3) Professor Ullman is a damn good professor. She structured the course to ensure students would commit the time necessary to gain a proper understanding of the readings. She also created several deadlines throughout the semester to ensure our research papers where of great quality— under her guidance, one could easily produce quality research that could be submitted to a journal, or at least as a writing sample.
4) It’s a comparative politics course. We look at the political climate of countries all over the world. Before this class, I didn’t know much about international politics other than that we should be more like Sweden, and in this class I learned why we should be like Sweden (and why it has been so difficult for us to do so). I also learned about the nature of political participation in different countries; for example, women in Latin America are more likely to partake in unconventional methods of political participation (such as protesting and striking) than traditional methods (such as donating to a campaign) due to the history of these nations.
Professor Ullman’s course is offered to all students in the fall, and is interesting whether you plan to major in gender studies, political science, or something totally unrelated.