Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The University of Hong Kong

Doing Gender and Why it Matters

The University of Hong Kong via edX


Multiple experts from across faculties at The University of Hong Kong and professionals engaged in gender-related developments in Asia will address the ways in which gender is understood, constructed and performed. Drawing from a variety of perspectives – cultural studies, economics, education, law, linguistics, psychology, public health, politics, social policy, and sociology - we begin by questioning meanings of gender in different cultural settings and historical moments. What do the representations of our currently used categories such as man, woman, transgender, queer, cisgender, bisexual, or intersex mean in different contexts? How are conversations about gender taking place in Asia and how do they converge or diverge from those happening elsewhere?

The course is a comparative, interdisciplinary and cross-sector conversation which encourages reflective thinking about practices of gender. It courts and questions the fixity of language, traditions, laws, and practices as well as the resilience of stereotypes, biases, and structures which perpetuate myths, hierarchies and discrimination.

Unraveling the interlinkages between these conversations and categories equips you with the skills needed to identify, recognize and reject outmoded or biased constructions of gender as well as the power hierarchies these embed within social relations. We will examine why gender equity is so important and yet hard to achieve. We scrutinize social and legal constructions of gender which continue to operate as though gender is binary and explore a more inclusive approach which reflects the gender continuum within the context of entrenched power structures. Through understanding gender and its relations with society, we look for solutions to eradicate gender discrimination and gender-based violence.

Additionally, as digital technology plays an ever-increasing role in contemporary construction of social realities of people, the course looks into how, if at all, these networked communities offer new expressions of gender as performativity and the ways in which these replicate, reproduce or refashion traditional gender categories and roles.

Then we turn to challenge our everyday practices of gender and how they colour our approaches, assumptions, and biases (conscious and unconscious) about the ‘other’? The course invites scrutiny of the practice and performance of gendering self and others. At the same time, it is a reminder that gender is not just about identity but also about power. The course examines manifestations and causes of gender inequality and its inextricable link to structural and institutional forces of discrimination. To better understand the interaction between identity and power, we look at gender-based violence. The #metoo movement has exposed not only the depth and scale of violence but also unmasked the asymmetries of power. Power and privilege are enjoyed by a select group while the voices of others remain invisible and ignored.

We conclude by looking at local, national and global efforts to address gender disparities in society in various domains. We invite you to reflect on the course materials and to connect them to your daily life. How can your new understandings about gender generate a ripple of change around you?

Taught by

Karen Laidler, Carmen Tong and Puja Kapai


5.0 rating, based on 12 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Doing Gender and Why it Matters

  • Anonymous
    This was one of the most well organized on high quality moocs I've ever taken. And I've taken dozens over the last 6 years. The material was engaging and I learned so much about gender and myself. I look forward to pursuing the subject much further in the future, after initially thinking this class would be the only class I would need on the subject. The professors really enticed me with their views on the depth of the field and the areas for further exploration.
  • Anonymous
    It's a fantastic course taught by professors from different faculties. It prompts me to think about my gender and my identify, and all the gendered issues around me. I particularly like the examples and cases discussed around traditional, digital an…
  • Anonymous
    Covers all basics comprehensively. A good segway into understanding broader concepts of gender. The entire teaching is heavily research-oriented and evidence based
  • Anonymous
    I find the course very interesting and I've learned along the way the importance of gender in our lives and in society as a whole. The topics are very up with the times and allows me to see the role of gender. Thank you for this edx. I wish continued success to you.
  • Anonymous
    This course will make you aware of the gender issues in community, society and culture, it will help to make gender-fair and unbiased decisions.
  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed taking this course, I realized that I had a very basic notion of "gender" and how important it really is to our personal development. The instructors are addressing the topics from the most general to the most specific, giving examples and providing a lot of scientific information regarding the topics covered, I liked that at the end of each class a question was asked to reflect on the reality in which we are inserted Because it is easier to see how influential and important it is to deal with this subject, thank you very much for transmitting your knowledge and being so committed to your work, and allowing us to be part of this movement that can be replicated where we live.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course. I was already familiar with key concepts but I thought some of the examples and the diversity of topics was excellent. The delivery format worked really well. There were some great case studies and I noted down several of the research papers particular to Hong Kong, like issues of urban space and sexuality. The digital cultures material was excellent as was the geek masculinity and of Ellen Pao. I enjoyed the interviews especially with the former EEOC chair, the former VC, and the students. I was really pleased to hear the efforts going on in HKU. Really fantastic course. Thank you!
  • Profile image for Sinem Maden
    Sinem Maden
    It was an exciting and fulfilling course for the individuals who want to learn about gender issues. The instructors explain the basic terms, facts and statistical information in a way easy to grasp and follow. That helps to question the issues for your own environment and to think the possible steps that you can take for your own society. Thank you to all working in that online programme!!
  • Anonymous
    In enjoyed this course very much. Professors are very passionate about the topics and the explanations are complex and yet very comprehensive. The technical part of the course (how videos are edited, the quality of the sound etc.) is excellent.
    I am very happy I took this course and I would recommend it to anybody interested in gender studies.
  • Khouloud Al Dimashki
    This course is quite interesting. I can give it five stars with utmost pleasure. It's inclusive of most issues related to gender studies and it's very organized. Besides the quizes after each section help learners stay focused and check how much knowledge they could retain.
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely brilliant and informative course. It covers a wide range of topics which everyone, no matter what gender, should learn about.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course!!! I've learned so much. I will re-study again. This time I have my notebook and pen with me.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.