This unit introduces students to the economics of gender inequality. The unit utilizes a series of interactive simulations and discussions designed with three instructional foci: increasing meaningful student-student discourse, using evidence to support claims, and using higher-order thinking strategies. The activities gauge students’ tacit understandings of productivity, equity, and fairness, providing male students an entry point to better understand the female perspective. All activities are mapped to AP units so the unit aligns with the AP Microeconomics standards and sequencing.
This unit begins by examining how social revolutions driven by comparative advantage gave rise to gender inequality. It then examines the relationship between marriage and game theory. The bulk of this unit examines labor markets and the wage gap. Finally, the unit examines gender-biased laws that show how inefficient government regulation leads to greater social inefficiency.
Activities are designed for an 80-minute class with approximately 25 students. Lessons call for students to sit in small groups to facilitate discussion and collaboration. Students will need access to a computer and the internet to complete multiple activities.
As a word of warning, the activities are meant to help students learn to empathize with the disparity caused by gender inequality and may make some students uncomfortable. One activity is designed so students believe their grade is determined in a way that mirrors the wage gap. It may be helpful to give parents a heads up before completing the activity to let them know the experiment will not actually affect their grades disproportionally.
The essential questions of the unit are
- What social inefficiencies naturally arise in American product and labor markets?
- What role does the government play in correcting market failures?
- How can society and the government change current legislature and policy to promote gender equality in the product and labor markets?