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Research projects

Gender paradoxes in academic and scientific organisations

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Liisa Husu

Research subject

Research environments

Gender paradoxes in how academic and scientific organizations are changing and being changed are the main focus in this project, building on the GEXcel themes 11-12 on the dynamics around the paradoxes of change, excellence and interventions. This strand draws on interdisciplinary approaches to organizational structures and processes, and the organization of science. Academic and scientific orga­­niza­­tions have experienced rapid changes in recent decades, including interna­­tionalization of institutions, policies and work; forms of governance and increased accountability; new stratifications of insti­­tutions and professions with increased emphasis on excellence, top performance and com­­­­­­pe­­tition; and prioritizing technology and natural science in research policy. Ma­­ny of these chan­­ges, both long-term macro trends as well as policies for change, seemingly appear as non-gendered, or are represented as such. Paradoxically, along with rapid change, inertia rather than change characterizes the gender patterns in many academic and scientific organizations. Gen­­der patterns remain highly persistent, resistant to change, despite the fact that the recruitment pool to academia has been feminizing, and despite a variety of interventions aimed at changing aca­­demia and science towards greater gender balance and awareness. Dialogue between theory, policy and practice is facilitated by frequent consultation and training activities among stakeholder orga­­nisations. 

Participating external researchers: Louise Morley, University of Sussex, UK; Suzanne de Cheveigné, CNRS, France; Heike Kahlert, Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Germany; Marieke van den Brink, Radboud University Nijmegen, Holland; Angela Wroblewski, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna