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Top 10 Courses on Gender Equality and Gender Equity

Equality is the granting of equal rights, status, and freedoms to everyone, no matter what their gender is. Equity, which recognizes and addresses historical discrimination and privilege, is a concept of fairness that centers the most marginalized. Equity is needed to reach equality. Discussions about gender equality and equity often focus on women, but gender is not binary. Systems of power and privilege are more complicated than men vs. women. To learn more about gender equality and equity, we’ve looked at ten courses from Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn. Auditing is usually an option, though your access to some materials (especially graded assignments) will be more limited. You can upgrade for complete access and any available certificate for a fee. Many courses offer financial aid if the fee is too steep.

#1. Queering Identities: LGBTQ+ Sexuality and Gender Identity (University of Colorado)
#2. Gender Analytics: Gender Equity through Inclusive Design (University of Toronto)
#3. Confronting Gender Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers (John Hopkins University)
#4. Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion (University of Pittsburgh)
#5. Understanding Gender Equity (CatalystX)
#6. Menstruation in a Global Context: Addressing Policy and Practice (ColumbiaX)
#7. Seeking Women’s Rights: Colonial Period to the Civil War (ColumbiaX)
#8. Fighting For Equality: 1950-2018 (ColumbiaX)
#9. Understanding Gender Inequality (University of Exeter)
#10. Improving Equality and Diversity with Technology (The Creative Computing Institute)

#1. Queering Identities: LGBTQ+ Sexuality and Gender Identity (University of Colorado)

This course explores the history of LGBTQ+ identities, experiences, and activism. Students will study major events in global LGBTQ+ history, as well as local histories of queer and transgender people and communities. The course also digs into how LGBTQ+ histories have helped shape conversations about justice, equality, and civil rights. Jacob McWilliams (Director, Gender & Sexuality Center, University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus) and K. Mohrman (Clinical Teaching Track Assistant Professor in Ethnic Studies) lead the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand key concepts and terminology, such as sex, gender, and intersectionality
  • Explore gender as a social construct and whether sex is biological or natural
  • Learn queer theory as a framework
  • Examine contemporary LGBTQ+ issues

How you will learn

This beginner course is divided into six weeks of study or about 20 hours total. Coursework consists of readings, discussion forums, videos, practice quizzes, and five graded assessments each worth 20% of your grade. You can see the assessments on the audit track, but to receive a grade, you’ll need to take the paid course track. To pass, you’ll need to score an 80% or higher. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.8/5 user rating.

REGISTER HERE

#2. Gender Analytics: Gender Equity Through Inclusive Design (University of Toronto)

Consisting of five courses, this specialization on Coursera teaches students about the Gender Analytics methodology, which creates opportunities in policy and business through gender-based insights. After taking the courses (Gender Analytics for Innovation; Inclusive Analytic Techniques; Human-Centered Design for Inclusive Innovation; Transformational Leadership for Inclusive Innovation; and the Gender Analytics Capstone Project), students will be equipped to apply inclusive analytic techniques and human-centered design. Sarah Kaplan, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto, teaches the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Describe concepts like gender, gender identity, sex, and intersectionality
  • Apply qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques to achieve gender-based insights
  • Understand how processes, services, policies, and products produce gendered outcomes
  • Develop innovative solutions through human-centered design

How you will learn

Courses vary in length. Completing all five courses in the specialization takes about five months with two hours of study per week. Coursework consists of readings, videos, practice exercises, and grade assessment quizzes. The last course is a capstone project that takes students through the process of using gender-based insights to create an innovative solution. Course 1-4 can be audited on their own, though you won’t be able to receive grades on any assignments through the audit track. If you want to complete the specialization and earn a certificate, subscribing to Coursera+ (as opposed to paying for each course individually) gives you unlimited access to all the courses. At the time of writing, the specialization had a 4.8/5 user rating.

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#3. Confronting Gender Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers (John Hopkins University)

Designed for learners from the healthcare sector, this course introduces students to gender based violence (GBV) including seminal research, global epidemiology of GBV, health outcomes, and clinical best practices for prevention, support, and management. Students will gain a global perspective on GBV. Michele Decker (ScD, MPH, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health) leads the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand GBV and its many forms
  • Explore safety planning, harm reduction, psychosocial support, and other ways to address GBV within the health sector
  • Understand clinical assessment, medical, and forensic examination
  • Describe the challenges, strategies, and WHO guidelines for GBV response within the health sector

How you will learn

This course is divided into four weeks and takes about 22 hours to complete. Coursework consists of videos, readings, discussion prompts, practice quizzes, and peer-graded assignments. There are also multiple graded quizzes for the Honors curriculum, which is offered for students wanting deeper knowledge into unique populations and specialized topics. All graded materials are limited to students taking the paid track. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.8/5 user rating.

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#4. Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion (University of Pittsburgh

In this course, students are introduced to the gender, sexuality, and women’s studies field. Through an interdisciplinary framework, students learn how the concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality have evolved and how they impact culture and the workplace. Julie Beaulieu (Lecturer, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program) and Susan Marine (Guest Lecturer, Assistant Professor and Program Director from Merrimack College) teach the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Identify key concepts about sex, gender, and sexuality
  • Examine the history and influence of gender theory and sexuality
  • Learn to develop inclusive workplace practices for LGBTQ+ people
  • Examine genderism and its influence on society

How you will learn

This course is divided into four weeks and takes around 16 ½ hours to complete. Coursework consists of readings, videos, discussion prompts, quizzes, and peer-graded assignments. Graded assignments are limited to students taking the certificate track, though you can see what assignments are when auditing. At the time of writing, “Gender and Sexuality” had a 4.7/5 average user rating.

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#5. Understanding Gender Equity (CatalystX)

This introductory course on edX teaches learners what gender equity is, why it matters, and how to address inequities in the workplace. Students will learn to recognize the many forms of inequity and how experiences vary based on ethnicity, social class, race, ability, religion, and other social identities. The course has several advisors and instructors, including Ashley Rivenbark (Senior Associate of Leading For Equity and Inclusion), Dr. Dnika Travis (Vice President, Research), and Dr. Lauren Pasquarella Daley (Senior Director, Women and the Future of Work).

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand the basics of gender equity, including how it’s different from equality
  • Explore systemic gender bias and the gender pay gap
  • Consider how to address inequities through things like culture, systems, policies, and programs
  • Reflect on inclusive leadership and workplace actions

How you will learn

The course is divided into four parts but only takes about 1-2 hours to complete. When the course is in session, discussion forums are active. When a session ends, the course is archived, but materials remain accessible. Coursework consists of videos, knowledge checks, and discussion forums. It isn’t clear if there are graded assignments, but if there are, seeing the assignments and receiving a grade are limited to those paying for the verified certificate track. The certificate track also gives you full access to course content and materials after the course ends. On the audit track, you lose your progress after about a month.

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#6. Menstruation in a Global Context: Addressing Policy and Practice (ColumbiaX)

In recent years, menstruation has received more focus as an important public health issue. As a result, a host of new research, programs, and policies have been launched. This edX course gives learners a foundation on the global menstruation movement, including cutting-edge menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) research, programming, and policies. Learners will better understand the experience of those who menstruate, build practical skills on implementing MHH programming, and understand gaps in current MHH research and practice. Marni Sommer (Associate Professor, Mailman School of Public Health and Director of the GATE Program at Columbia University), Maggie L. Schmidt (Associate Director of the GATE Program), and Caitlin Gruer (Program Manager, GATE Program) teach the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand what menstruation is and why it matters as a public health issue
  • Explore MHH programming, experiences, policy, advocacy
  • Understand menstruation in emergencies
  • Describe MHH challenges and inclusive MHH programming and policies

How you will learn

The course takes 14 weeks with 2-3 hours of study per week. Coursework includes readings, global case studies, discussion forums, and section quizzes. Quizzes are limited to learners taking the certificate track. On the audit track, you only have temporary access (about three months) to the course. When a course session ends, it’s no longer active, but the materials are archived.

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#7. Seeking Women’s Rights: Colonial Period to the Civil War (ColumbiaX)

Part 1 of the “Women Have Always Worked MOOC,” this course begins with the experience of women in Colonial America, including enslaved women, rural housewives, and indentured servants. The course continues to the industrial era as women fought for their individual rights and began to enter the workplace. Students will learn about the customs, cultures, and ideologies that governed women during Colonial America into the early 19th century. Alice Kessler-Harris (R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita) and Nick Juravich (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History, New-York Historical Society) teach the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand what women’s history matters
  • Explore Colonial America, including the daily lives of women, hierarchies, and rebellions
  • Examine the customs, cultures, and ideologies of women and the domestic sphere in the early 19th century
  • Describe the gendered meaning of “work” in the industrial revolution, including how the shift influenced family life, family relationships, and women’s ability to organize politically

How you will learn

This course is divided into five sections and takes about 10 weeks with 2-3 hours of work per week. Coursework includes readings, videos, discussion forums, ungraded knowledge checks, and reflection activities. We couldn’t see any graded assignments, but if there are any, these are limited to the certificate track. To receive a certificate, you must complete all Activities at the end of each section. When a class session ends, it’s no longer active and the materials are archived.

REGISTER HERE

#8. Fighting For Equality: 1950-2018 (ColumbiaX)

The last section in the “Women Have Always Worked” edX MOOC, this course examines how the Cold War reinforced ideals of the suburban, nuclear family. As a result, women’s progress to independence and equality was affected. The course explores the conflict between the breadwinner-homemaker system of beliefs, efforts for peace and gender equality, and the evolution of the feminist movement from the 1960s to today. Alice Kessler-Harris (R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita) and Nick Juravich (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History, New-York Historical Society) lead the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand the “woman citizen” during the Cold War era
  • Explore women’s participation in social and political upheavals
  • Describe second-wave feminism
  • Understand the influence of gender, race, and sexuality on past and present electoral and advocacy politics

How you will learn

This intermediate course is divided into seven sections and takes about 12 weeks with 2-3 hours of study per week. It’s available to audit, but access to the course is temporary. Coursework includes videos, ungraded knowledge checks, discussion forums, and reflection activities. We couldn’t see graded assignments, but if there are, these are limited to students taking the certificate track. When the session ends, it’s no longer active and the materials are archived.

REGISTER HERE

#9. Understanding Gender Inequality (University of Exeter)

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is an important piece of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Campaigns (like the #MeToo movement) have made gender equality issues mainstream. This course explores the nature and consequences of gender inequality in the media, at home, and in the workplace. Students will learn what gender and inequality are, what’s been done to address inequality, what remains to be done. Lecturer Dr. Emma Jeanes teaches the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Understand the basic history, key terms, and concepts about gender and inequality
  • Explore gender inequality in contexts like politics, the workplace, and at home
  • Analyze media representations of gender inequality
  • Discuss ways to challenge gender inequality

How you will learn

This course is divided into four weeks and can be completed with three hours of work per week. Coursework includes videos, readings, discussions, and quizzes, which do not count toward your course score. With the audit track, your access is limited to four weeks. To earn a certificate, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid track. At the time of writing, the course had a 4.7/5 user rating.

REGISTER HERE

#10. Improving Equality and Diversity with Technology (The Creative Computing Institute)

This Expert Track (which contains three courses) gives students the tools they need to promote equality and diversity in their fields, whether it’s recruitment, user research, testing, marketing, and so on. You’ll learn how technologies can replicate gender stereotypes and racism, how to design inclusive approaches, and how to create diverse workplace cultures. Created by The Creative Computing Institute, experts like Charlene Hunter (CEO of Coding Black Females), Mark Martin (MBE, co-founder of UK Black Tech), and Andrew Mallinson (co-founder of Feminist Internet) lead the course.

What you will learn (excerpt)

  • Describe gender-inclusive design
  • Recognize racism within technology
  • Discuss various approaches to diverse innovation
  • Apply gender-inclusive and anti-racist approaches in your context

How you will learn

The Expert Track takes nine weeks total with four hours of work per week. It doesn’t appear that auditing is an option, though you can take advantage of the free 7-day trial to decide if these courses are right for you. Coursework includes videos, readings, and one peer-graded assignment per course. As an introductory track, no coding experience is required.

REGISTER HERE

About the author

Emmaline Soken-Huberty

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.