What is Gender Research?

Gender research covers different areas of specialisation. Gender research is a term covering equality research, women’s and feminist studies, research on men and masculinities and queer studies. The field addresses basic issues such as democracy, equality and knowledge in society. Furthermore, it focuses on how gender interacts in conceptual and literal terms with other categories such as ethnicity, sexuality and social background. Gender research elucidates the ways in which complex processes define gender and gender relations. This applies both to the often unequal distribution of power between men and women and to the form of symbolic images that relate gender to categories to which it has no obvious connection, such as nature and culture. All in all, gender research reveals how the perception of gender influences power and hierarchies in society. Gender research may be summarised into three perspectives, which often overlap:

  • Current inequalities and barriers in social structures and organisations, for instance in relation to pay, promotion, childcare, and mobility, and in relation to health and sexual harassment.
  • Symbolic and cultural conditions. The research demonstrates the production of gender and gendered structures in institutional settings such as education, healthcare and welfare as well as in more all-encompassing financial and cultural formations such as globalisation. Gender research includes comparative and transnational perspectives as well as explanations of the gender specific implications of parenthood, violence, and prostitution across national borders and cultures.
  • The premises for the production of knowledge, for instance by connecting natural- and technical scientific paradigms with sociological and humanist approaches. This involves the critical analysis of central ideological concepts of masculinity and femininity, as well as new interpretations of scientific core concepts such as quality, objectivity, and technology.