The Economics & Ethics of Gender in the Developing World:  Econ 198 or Phil 134

Dr. Denise Dimon

Office: 133 Peace and Justice Center

Phone:  260-4836

Office Hours:  Tues & Thur. 4:00-6:00,

Wed. 11:00-12:00, and by appt.


Dr. H. E.  Baber

Office: 165c Founders Hall

Phone: 260-4600 X4401

Office Hours: Tue 12:15 – 2:15 and  4:00 – 6:00; Thu 1:00 – 2:00 and by appointment







Class Meetings: TueThu 2:20-3:45, Olin Hall 130


                     · Martha Nussbaum. Women and Human Development

                     · Susan Moller Okin et. al. Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

                     · Additional readings available through class website at


gender in the developing world: revised





Jan 28, 30

Course introduction

Look at gender inequality at the start of the 21st century

Continued review of gender inequality, by regions and countries; gender and poverty

Feb 4, 6

How gender inequality hinders development

Social norms


Feb 11, 13

Laws and economic institutions

Power, Incentives and resources in the household

Feb 18, 20

Is economic development good for gender equality

Public policies and strategies to promote gender equality?

Feb 25, 27

Africa presentation, short paper (no grade) on cultural relativism

A case of honor killing, discussion of cultural relativism

Mar 4, 6

Summing up and review for Test 1

Test 1

Mar 11, 13

Spring Break – No Class

Spring Break – No Class

Mar 18, 20

Ethical Theory Intro.

Ethical Theory: Utilitarianism as a sample theory

Mar 25, 27

More on Utilitarianism and Objections to Utilitarianism


Apr 1, 3

Welfarism: hedonism, preference utilitarianism & objective list theories

Utilitarianism and sum-ranking: the problem of distributive justice

Apr 8, 10

Liberalism and it’s critics: Communitarianism & Identity Politics

Appiah “Color Conscious” & Baber “Gender Conscious”

Apr 15, 17

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Review questions available.

Holy Thursday – no classes

Apr 22, 24

Summing up and review for Test 2

Test 2


Apr 29, May 1

Multinationals and Women’s Labor in the Developing


Sex Trade


May 13, 15

Protective Labor Market Legislation


May 20, 22

Term Paper Due



Course Objectives

Inequities, driven by poverty, social norms and institutions, affect both men in the developing world.  Yet cultural traditions, scant economic resources and limited opportunities marginalize women. Young  boys have better access to health care, nutrition and education and gender bias is reinforced throughout  adulthood as men retain economic and political power.

The situation of women in the developing world raises challenging economic and ethical questions.  As economic growth continues throughout the world, why are some countries, and groups within countries, such as women, being left behind? To the extent that the plight of women in the developing world is a consequence of entrenched assumptions and practices it poses the larger questions of whether “cultural relativism” is plausible and whether support for “diversity” is morally acceptable.

This course will address both the economic and ethical issues concerning women in the developing world.

Course requirements

Two equally weighted exams will account for 50% of your course grade. Participation will account for 20% of your grade. Your term paper/project will account for the remaining 30% of your grade for the course.

                                                         · Exam 1............................................... 25%

                                                         · Exam 2............................................... 25%

                                                         · Participation..................................... 20%

                                                         · Paper/Project..................................... 30%

Professor Baber will supervise the paper for those receiving credit in philosophy, while Professor Dimon will supervise the paper for those receiving credit in economics. All papers and projects must be approved by one of the instructors. Please be prepared to discuss the readings and topics assigned each week. We will also have some "case" readings and/or current topics which will be discussed in class. You are encouraged to bring in any relevant current issues pertaining to the topics currently under discussion or previously discussed.

Course Conduct

Make-up exams will be given only if prior arrangement is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled exam.  No late papers will be accepted after the assigned due date.

Acts of academic dishonesty are taken seriously and dealt with harshly, following the University's academic integrity procedures.  Acts of academic dishonesty include: a) unauthorized assistance on an examination; b) falsification or invention of data; c) unauthorized collaboration on an academic exercise; d) plagiarism.

Prerequisites: If you are taking this course for credit in economics the prerequisite is Econ 2; there are no prerequisites if you are taking this course for credit in philosophy.