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Center of Excellence Women and Science


Change of Gender Equality Structures in Higher Education

Hochschulische Gleichstellungsstrukturen im Wandel

Project duration: 01.03.2011 – 28.02.2013

Project team: Dr. Andrea Löther, Lina Vollmer, Juliane Mosel

Against the background of university reforms and rising demands on the quality of equal opportunity policy there is currently a change in personnel structures underway. In accordance with these changes universities are working on the issue of gender equality. In addition to the gender equality officers, new staff positions, prorectorate, and general staff positions in central administration, or in individual entities like graduate schools or clusters of excellence are continually being introduced. On the one hand there is also a functional differentiation taking place between strategic planning, operative implementation and supervisory duties. While thematic changes can also be observed – for example in the sense of diversity concepts or in the setting up of family offices or dual-career-services. Parallel to this new arrangements of the offices for gender equality are taking place.

The goals of the planned research project are the following:

  • To analyze the structural changes in gender equality work;
  • to clarify the framework conditions and causes for reshaping gender equality structures;
  • to embed the changes in university policy developments;
  • to clarify, whether and in what manner professionalization processes are executed in the work on gender equality in universities;
  • to determine the effects of these developments on the content and strategies of university gender equality policies.

The research project pursues an interdisciplinary approach, in that the structures for gender equality  work are examined under aspects of occupational sociology as well as via the political science approach of governance research.

The project simultaneously pursues, for the first time, a quantitative stock-taking of personnel structures of gender equality work at universities.

Methodology: Electronic request for stocktaking, online survey of fulltime personnel in gender equality  work, in-depth interviews, analysis of university and labor law situation, international comparisons of equal opportunity structures in Switzerland and Austria.

Funded by: