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The Research Group on Gender Studies uses intersectional, comparative, cross-national, and global perspectives to create bridges and synergies between gender, science, organizations, and policy studies. Professor Zippel’s books and articles examine the mechanisms through which gender equality - a core value of liberal modernity - has been slow, at times stalling, and highly uneven across key institutions such as education, work, science, and politics. Recent research explores gender and global transformations of science and education.

Funded by the Einstein Foundation, this research uncovers points of leverage and/or weakness for specific policies, institutional arrangements, and various negotiations among increasingly transnational actors. Such comparative analyses help to explain why some countries and institutions adopted measures to further the cause of equity, while others have not.

The research streams explore the variability and inconsistency of change across institutions and countries that have witnessed decades of contentious debates about intersectional gender equality and diversity along with a variety of legal reforms, policies, interventions, and social movements aimed at addressing (or resisting) it to varying degrees.

Research stream I “Diffusion of Policy Ideas on Gender and Diversity”

Projects in this stream explore how  “change agents” frame and negotiate demands for equity and diversity in science that create tensions within and across institutions, countries, and regions of the world. For example, discourses about academic excellence in higher education tend to position beliefs in meritocracy against the democratic values of equity and diversity. To analyze the role of gender and diversity in debates surrounding these and related concepts (such as quotas, violence, participation, and voice), projects in this research stream will use qualitative and computational text analysis of reports on gender and diversity in science to trace the emergence and dissemination of ideas about these concepts.

In addition, we ask how developments and ongoing struggles around gender and diversity in science are related to other ideas and processes in the field, such as the notion of “academic excellence”, the neoliberalisation of academia, demands to improve the international competitiveness of universities, and the seemingly oppositional concepts of “meritocracy” vs. the democratic values of equality and diversity.

The first project in this stream is a cooperating project on “Varieties of Diversity Scripts” funded by the DFG. The second project, “Negotiating Equity: Policy discourses on gender equity and diversity in science”, is carried out by Bontu Guschke and Laura Eigenmann at the research group Gender Studies. A third project, “Innovation Networks: The Creation and Diffusion of Ideas on Gender Equity”, which is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, explores the creation and diffusion of ideas on gender equity through innovation networks accross U.S. universities and STEM organizations.