Gender relations in science

Andrea Löther

Dauerbeobachtung der Gesellschaft

Center of Excellence Women and Science
Stellvertretende Teamleiterin

+49 (221) 47694-256

Andrea Löther

Despite positive developments with respect to the situation of women in leadership positions at German universities and research institutions, there are current inequalities of opportunities to be seen. Germany continues to bring up the rear in European comparisons. Unfounded assumptions as to the causes of gender-specific differences in career paths as well as barriers to the reception of extant findings amongst the decision makers stand in opposition to the realization of equal opportunity in academia. This persistence of gender-asymmetry is accompanied by intensive university policy efforts from the political side and by researcher’s steadily growing interest in the respective research questions. GESIS research in this area currently focuses on the following topics and is conducted using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Equal opportunity measures in science

Both the scientific discussion and current developments in science policy (The Federal and State Women Professors Program, research based equal opportunity standards of the German Research Foundation, DFG) have demonstrated the need to build up a similarly high level of knowledge on the question of the effects of equal opportunity measures. GESIS contributes significantly via monitoring and evaluation studies.

Gender research on science structures and careers in academia

Against the background of recent substantial gains in knowledge, there still remain considerable knowledge gaps regarding gender aspects in science. Most notably, it can be pointed out that there is an insufficient level of knowledge regarding the effective mechanisms of scientific structures and their interactions with gender, life-situation and role-orientation. GESIS pushes ahead the further development of this research field with its own research projects.

International comparisons of Equal Equality in Research

In Europe, the advancement of gender equality in academia is encouraged by the use of gender action plans. GESIS conducts research on the implementation of gender policies in academia. Our research pinpoints progress and experiences made in different academic systems across the European Research Area by carrying out comparative policy analysis as well as evaluation studies.

Compatibility of science and family

Balancing family responsibilities and academic career is a virulent, intense and politically highly relevant topic in light of low fertility rates of male and female scientists and the given working conditions in science. The research of GESIS provides fundamental insights on the individual and structural level concerning conditions and effects of initiated measures and instruments for the successful reconciliation of scientific career and family life for both sexes.