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Petra Ahrens

Academy Research Fellow
Faculty of Social Sciences | Unit of Social Research
Tampere University
phone number+358503182300
City Centre Campus

About me

I am Academy of Finland Research Fellow for my project “On the road to gender-sensitive parliaments? Gender Equality and Democratic Practices in the Finnish, German, and Polish Parliament Compared” (GSParls). For the project I will carry out fieldwork and qualitative interviews in the three countries and I will (1) develop a comparative methodological framework to study gender-sensitivity and democratic practices in parliaments and parties, (2) integrate norm diffusion theories into institutional and other approaches to reveal endogenous struggles within parliaments and map inter-parliamentary lesson learning, (3) focus on intersectional aspects to capture gender equality in its complexity, and, (4) engage and exchange research findings with parliamentary, political and administrative actors. 

My research interests are gender policies and politics, political representation, party politics and democracy. I have mainly focused on the European Union and its institutions, transnational civil society organisations, participatory democracy, social politics, political strategies like gender mainstreaming, and gender equality in Germany.

Responsibilities

Top achievements

  • Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-Postdoc-Fellow „Effects of Institutional Change on Participatory Democracy and the Involvement of Civil Society Organisations“ (DemocInChange) at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, granted by EU Horizon 2020
  • co-founding editor of the European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG)
  • doctoral scholarship from the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V. (2007-2010)

Main positions of trust

- Co-chair of the ECPR Standing Group Politics & Gender (2018-2021)

- co-editor of European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG) (2018-2020)

- co-editor of the German feminist journal Femina Politica (since 2014)

Research fields

Politics and Gender

Gender Equality

Party politics 

Formal and informal Institutions

Parliaments

European Union

European Parliament

Civil Society Organisations

Gender Mainstreaming

Research career

I received my PhD in Sociology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2014 with the dissertation 'The Sound of Silence – Institutionalizing Gender Equality Policy in the European Union'. From 2014 to 2016, I was assistant professor on Sociology of Work and Gender relations at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. I held a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-Fellowship titled „Effects of Institutional Change on Participatory Democracy and the Involvement of Civil Society Organisations” (DemocInChange, 2017-2018) and was Guest Professor for Comparative Politics and for Gender and Diversity from 2018-2019 at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Antwerp. I was also Guest Professor for Gender and Diversity at the Free University Berlin, Germany, in 2021. From 2019 to 2021, I was Senior Researcher in the ERC funded research project „Gender, party politics and democracy in Europe: A study of European Parliament’s party groups” (EUGenDem). 

I also work as free-lance policy consultant for public administration on gender equality and gender mainstreaming since 2006, for instance for the 'Mayor and Senator for Economics, Technology and Women’s Issues Berlin (2008-2009), the 'Agency for Gender Equality within the ESF' (2009-2014), and subcontracted for the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) (2014; 2017-2019).

Selected publications