Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) 423

Mothering/Motherhood in the Real World (Revision 1)

WGST 423 Course Cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. WGST 266 or PSYC 345 and any other 300-level WGST course (or equivalent courses from another institution) are strongly recommended.

Precluded Course: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Women's & Gender Studies home page

WGST 423 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This course looks at motherhood and mothering within the context of Western society. As you study the materials in this course, you will be encouraged to distinguish between mothering as a construct that informs personal identity and motherhood as a role determined and shaped by gendered, social, economic, and cultural structures. You will have the opportunity to explore how changes in expectations have affected mothers’ roles and mothering practices. You will look at the roles that theory and popular culture have played in shaping contemporary mothering practice; issues affecting women’s choices to combine professional careers with mothering; public policy that works to either constrain or reinforce the practice of mothering; the impact of poverty and mental well-being on motherhood; and how others outside of the boundaries defining the “good mother” experience motherhood. All the topics discussed in this course offer insights encouraging a critical awareness of factors affecting the lives of contemporary women who are also mothers.


  • Unit 1: The Study of Motherhood
  • Unit 2: Reflections on Motherhood—Theory and Popular Culture
  • Unit 3: Paid Employment and the Practice of Motherhood
  • Unit 4: Enabling Policies—In Theory and in Practice
  • Unit 5: Mothering and Poverty
  • Unit 6: Mothers, Mothering, and Mental Health
  • Unit 7: “Other” Mothers, “Other” Mothering
  • Unit 8: The Future of Motherhood


To receive credit for WGST 423, you must complete all five assessment activities and achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final exam as well as an overall grade of D (50 percent) or better for the entire course.

Activity Credit Weight Due Date
Assessment Activity 1: Reflection 10% of final grade After Unit 1
Assessment Activity 2: Compare and Contrast 15% of final grade After Unit 2
Assessment Activity 3: Midterm Take-Home Review 20% of final grade After Unit 4
Assessment Activity 4: Film Review and Critique 25% of final grade After Unit 8
Assessment Activity 5: Final Invigilated Exam 30% of final grade After Unit 8
Total 100% of final grade  

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Kinser, A. (2010). Motherhood and feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Ross, L. R. (2016). Interrogating Motherhood. Edmonton, AB: AU Press. (eBook)

Other Resources

All other materials are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the WGST 423 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) or greater on the research essay to be eligible to write the challenge examination. A cumulative average of 50 percent on both activities is required. Credit is awarded on a pass/fail basis only.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, January 16, 2017.