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Gender Issues in the Curriculum

The Institute for Women and Gender Studies was founded in May 2001 and continues to be the only above faculty university institute in Austria engaged in Women’s and Gender Research (Gender Studies).

Since December of 2003 the institute has been staffed with one professor of interdisciplinary studies for Women’s and Gender Research as well as scientific associates. The institute defines itself as a portal regarding questions pertaining to gender relations in the scientific community as well as in society.

For more detailed information on Gender Studies in the curriculum, please see:

Courses in Gender Studies  (Neues Fenster)

Why Gender Studies?

The Johannes Kepler University’s development plan of 2006 – 2012 declared the interdisciplinary field of Gender Studies as an all-university structural focal point and the university has succeeded in introducing the topic of Gender Studies in all areas of study and all curricula at the JKU.

In 1997, the European Union declared a commitment to affirmative action by ratifying the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) aimed at eradicating gender discrimination and promoting equal treatment between men and women (Art. 3, para. 2 EGV). The Treaty of Amsterdam requires that EU member states support gender mainstreaming. In other words, all political and administrative activities must include addressing aspects of gender equality as well as portraying the effects on the equality between men and women and the kind of contributions that can be made.

On July 5, 2001, the Government of Upper Austria pledged a commitment to support gender mainstreaming measures. Since then, gender budgeting projects for public households on all levels of regional authority (federal, state, community) have been implemented and gender mainstreaming is a decisive factor in (EU) project applications and (EU) funding.

Issues of gender equality and equal opportunity are also becoming increasingly important in the private sector (Gender and Diversity Management, for example), particularly in the area of leadership. Breaking down discriminating social mechanisms and establishing gender equality in all areas of society is a major challenge that universities and science must face and that you, as a student, must learn more about in lieu of your future professional career.

The required base knowledge - and therefore the relevant academic basis required to implement these strategies – are a part of the interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary field of Gender Studies, meaning they link various subject areas together in order to provide content and methodical relevance to the category “gender” in each of their disciplinary contexts. On one hand, important points of reference include academic topics (theoretical models, scientific theory, empirical research), and on the other hand the gender political implications.

The JKU is one of the only universities in Austria that has taken active measures to implement Gender Studies into the curricula. These courses have been designed to prepare students to take on socio-political challenges in their later professional careers.