Accessibility statement

Law, Gender & Sexuality - LAW00064H

« Back to module search

  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sue Westwood
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Law is never neutral, and this is particularly so in relation to gender and sexuality. This module examines how gender and sexuality are framed in law and critically interrogates the social and cultural norms which shape this. It asks whether law is keeping up with changing understandings about gender and sexuality. It focusing on feminist socio-legal approaches to law, drawing on case examples from the Feminist Judgments project.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The aim of this intellectually challenging module is to provide students with a theoretically informed insight into the way in which law, gender and sexuality are mutually constituted. It critically interrogates how gender and sexuality are framed in law, and consider spaces of socio-legal in/exclusions which exist as a consequence of that framing. Changing social constructions of gender and sexuality, and the extent to which law is keeping up with these changes, will also be explored. The gendered subject of law will be examined and students will be supported in thinking critically about the gender profile of law-makers and the gendered nature of legal judgments in the United Kingdom. Cases from the Feminist Judgments project will be analysed and students will be supported in developing their own feminist socio-legal analyses of recent relevant case law.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate:

  • A critical understanding of how law, gender and sexuality intersect and interact
  • A critical understanding of the ways that law can be seen as being informed by social and cultural normative constructions of gender and sexuality
  • A critical appreciation of the main theoretical approaches to analysing gender, sexuality and law and a critical understanding of feminist socio-legal scholarship within this context.
  • The ability to use primary and secondary literature to develop critical analyses of issues relating to gender, sexuality and law.
  • The ability to construct arguments orally and in writing and which are supported by appropriate evidence to analyse critically the relationship between law, gender and sexuality.
  • The ability to undertake independent research on recent case law as part of an assessment of the merits of taking a feminist socio-legal approach to analysing the relationship between law, gender and sexuality.

Module content

Week 1: Introduction to law, gender and sexuality

Week 2: Feminist and queer legal theory

Week 3: Feminist Judgments projects: an overview

Week 4: What is feminist judging?

Week 5: Feminist Judgments (Hunter McGlynn & Rackley): Case study (1)

Week 6: Feminist Judgments (Hunter McGlynn & Rackley): Case study (2)

Week 7: Feminist Judgments (Hunter McGlynn & Rackley): Case study (3)

Week 8: Feminist Judgments (Hunter McGlynn & Rackley): Case study (4)


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Assignment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Assignment
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative feedback is provided to students: (i) via feedback during learning activities (e.g. on specific skills performances); (ii) via an optional formative essay question.

Feedback on the summative assessment is provided in the form of comments on the assessment plus a summary of the main positive points and areas for improvement.

Feedback will be provided within the Policy Turnaround Time.

Indicative reading

  • Bartlett, K. (2018). Feminist legal theory: Readings in law and gender. Routledge.
  • Grabham, E., Cooper, D., Krishnadas, J., & Herman, D. (Eds.). (2008). Intersectionality and beyond: Law, power and the politics of location. Routledge.
  • Hunter, R., McGlynn, C., & Rackley, E. (Eds.). (2010). Feminist judgments: From theory to practice. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Taylor, Y., Hines, S., & Casey, M. (Eds.). (2010). Theorizing intersectionality and sexuality. Springer.
  • Taylor, Y., & Addison, M. (Eds.). (2013). Queer presences and absences. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Westwood, S. (2016) Ageing, Gender and Sexuality: Equality in later life. Routledge.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.