Challenges and Opportunities for Building Alliances for Greater Gender Equality. A Commentary on the Symposium “Don’t Fix Women, Fix Academia? Gender Inequality in National Academic Contexts”


  • Jörg Müller Interdisciplinary Internet Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya



Gender inequality, comparative research, Europe, masculinity, excellence


This commentary on the collected essays brings into sharper focus some of the key advances, lessons learned but also continued challenges for tackling gender inequality in R&D. Adopting a comparative perspective across countries but also across analytical levels (micro-, meso-, and macro) demonstrates once more the widespread nature of gender inequality. Drawing on the provided insights from cases in Europe and the US regarding gender equality in R&D, it argues for the importance of building broader alliances beyond gender equality practitioners in science to unite against illiberal, anti-democratic tendencies within Europe and beyond.


Benschop, Y., & Van Den Brink, M. (2018). The Holy Grail of Organizational Change. Toward Gender Equality at Work. In J.W. Messerschmidt, P.Y. Martin, M.A. Messner, & R. Connell (Eds.), Gender Reckonings: New Social Theory and Research (pp. 193-210). New York, NY: NYU Press.

Bustelo, M. (2023). Resilience and Gender-Structural Change in Universities: How Bottom-Up Approaches Can Leverage Transformation When Top-Level Management Support Fails. Sociologica, 17(2), 17–36.

Cannito, M., Naldini, M., & Santero, A. (2023). Investigating the Glass Ceiling in Italian Academia. Women’s Strategies and Barriers to Career Advancement. Sociologica, 17(2), 93–114.

Ciccia, R., & Verloo, M. (2012). Parental Leave Regulations and the Persistence of the Male Breadwinner Model: Using Fuzzy-set Ideal Type Analysis to Assess Gender Equality in an Enlarged Europe. Journal of European Social Policy, 22(5), 507–528.

DiTomaso, N. (2015). Racism and Discrimination versus Advantage and Favoritism: Bias For versus Bias Against. Research in Organizational Behavior, 35, 57–77.

EIGE. (2016). Roadmap to Gender Equality Plans in Research and Higher Education Institutions. Success Factors and Common Obstacles. European Institute for Gender Equality.

Kahlert, H. (2023). A Letter from the President — or: How the German Universities Excellence Initiative Became a Driver of Gender Change in the German Science Policy Discourse. Sociologica, 17(2), 73–91.

Köttig, M., Bitzan, R., & Petö, A. (Eds.). (2017). Gender and Far Right Politics in Europe. New York, NY: Springer International Publishing.

Linková, M., Langhammerová, G., Andreska, Z., & Oliva, E. (2023). Co-creating Gender Equality in Czech Academia: External and Internal Factors. Sociologica, 17(2), 59–72.

Mcquillan, J., & Hernandez, N. (2021). Real-Life Conundrums in the Struggle for Institutional Transformation. Gender & Society, 35(3), 300–329.

Mergaert, L., Cacace, M., & Linková, M. (2022). Gender Equality Impact Drivers Revisited: Assessing Institutional Capacity in Research and Higher Education Institutions. Social Sciences, 11(9), Article 9.

Myers, K., George, S., Danell, A., & Morehead, A. (2023). Bringing the Men Back In: Catalyzing Gender Equality at Universities Through Advocates & Allies. Sociologica, 17(2), 37–57.

Palmén, R., & Kalpazidou Schmidt, E. (2019). Analysing Facilitating and Hindering Factors for Implementing Gender Equality Interventions in R&I: Structures and Processes. Evaluation and Program Planning, 77, 101726.




How to Cite

Müller, J. (2023). Challenges and Opportunities for Building Alliances for Greater Gender Equality. A Commentary on the Symposium “Don’t Fix Women, Fix Academia? Gender Inequality in National Academic Contexts”. Sociologica, 17(2), 125–130.



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