Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Europe module (HY31038)

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Module code


  • Level 3
  • Semester 1
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 50% Examination 50%


This module offers students the opportunity to explore the enormous changes (and some continuities) in the lives of women and in gender roles in Europe over the course of the twentieth century. The module will focus particularly on Western Europe (including Britain).

Topics covered will include:

  • Changing attitudes to sex, sexuality and birth control
  • The impact of economic change on gender roles
  • Feminist movements, particularly of the first (early twentieth century) and second (1970s) 'waves'
  • The roles of women and gender in times of war
  • Changing attitudes to masculinity
  • The role of women and gender under the Fascist and Nazi regimes

The focus of the course will be on the historiography relating each of the topics covered and students will also have a change to do their own research for essays and presentations in class.


Dr Perry Willson


This module will be taught by a mixture of lectures, seminars and student-led presentation sessions over 11 weeks - in total 33 contact hours.

Lectures will help shape students' understanding of the issues as a whole but there will also be a strong emphasis on learning through guided, independent reading.  Seminars will concentrate on discussions of assigned weekly readings, providing opportunities for students to present their ideas to the rest of the class as well as to clarify anything they have not understood.


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Coursework (50%).  One essay (35%) plus one presentation (15%)
  • Examination (50%).  One 2-hour examination


Introductory Reading

Ann Taylor Allen , Women in Twentieth-Century Europe. (Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2008).

Access the online reading list system

Module Aims

The aims of this module will:

  1. Increase students understanding of the changing position of women and the role of gender over the course of the twentieth century in Europe (including Britain).
  2. Increase students' awareness of the nature of history as debate.
  3. Increase students' organizational, written, oral and cognitive skills.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • A good knowledge of the changing position of women and the role of gender over the course of the twentieth century in Europe (including Britain).
  • A good understanding of the historicalgraphical approaches to the topics studies.


  • Reading, understanding and analytical skills
  • Ability to participate in oral debate
  • Effective time management
  • Ability to work independently
  • Writing and research skills
  • Presentation skills



This module is available on following courses: