Til bevillingsoversigt

Parenthood and gender inequality in science

Carlsberg Foundation Young Researcher Fellowships


In academia, there is a disproportionate lack of representation of women in most scientific disciplines, and especially at the upper end of the profession. The gender differences in participation in science are driven by a variety of mechanisms: they could be a consequence of prevalent social and cultural norms, stem from different human capital accumulation trajectories, or result from discrimination.

This project will focus on the dual influence of children and partners on academic productivity. As such, it aims at getting a better understanding of the drivers of gender differences in Danish academia and the constraints that exist on how individuals can unfold their productive potential and fully enjoy the rewards of their scientific work.


Denmark is as a leading scientific player worldwide, but maintaining this position needs continuous investments in the human resources involved in the process of knowledge and technology production. It is therefore imperative to be able to utilize the full potential of the local labor force, ensuring that all groups are equally able to participate in research and innovation activities.

While Scandinavian countries are often praised for their high rate of women participation in the workforce and their generous policies in support of families, Denmark is no longer a strong outlier in terms of gender equality compared to other countries. This suggests that scientific production in Denmark may be facing a problem stemming from a sub-optimal participation of women in the scientific workforce.


This project will establish a research group that will collect and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data on scientists affiliated to Danish universities. This project requires not only the collection and analysis of a large dataset, but also the involvement of a large group of stakeholders.

For this reason, we will establish a network, both in Denmark and internationally, which will be helpful for the data collection but also for the dissemination of the research results, including external stakeholders (such as policymakers and university administrators) which have an interest in the topic of gender inequalities in science.


The long term ambition of this project is to uncover gender-based relationships amenable to policy action both at the national and institutional level, and to understand the extent to which existing norms and external constraints likely limit the efficacy of such policies

One example of the applicability of this research may include insights into the effects of institutional policies that complement the regulations that govern parental leave from work for both academics and their partners.