Eradicating gender gaps in doctoral programmes

Anita Gohdes co-authors paper on gender imbalances in methods training at European universities.

Gender gaps still exist when it comes to doctoral training of political science students. A new publication titled “Selecting in or Selecting Out? Gender Gaps and Political Methodology in Europe” aims to give more insight into the different experiences of women and men in methods training during their PhD programmes with a focus on European universities, and to provide possible solutions to eradicate these gaps.

Published in the journal PS: Political Science & Politics (Cambridge University Press) in October, the paper was co-authored by Malu A.C. Gatto, Assistant Professor in Latin American Politics at the Institute of the Americas at University College London (UCL), Anita Gohdes, Hertie School Professor of International and Cyber Security, Denise Traber, senior research fellow at the University of Lucerne and Mariken A.C.G. van der Velden, Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The article introduces new data from a survey on the methods training of political science PhD students covering 20 European countries. An analysis of PhD students’ training and employment of quantitative and computational methods showed that women covered fewer topics than men, confirming a gender imbalance in political methodology training. However, the research findings also show that “… when women PhD students are exposed to methods in class, they are as likely as their male colleagues to employ them. However, given the structure (or lack thereof) of European doctoral programmes, women currently cover significantly fewer methods throughout their training.” 

Based on their research results, the co-authors suggest to create gender-balanced courses that reflect their doctoral students’ methods needs and interests. In order to achieve gender balance in political methodology, they conclude, methods training needs to be offered in a way that encourages women doctoral students to participate early and often, which will help them to use these methods comfortably later in their career – and in the long run help eradicate existing gender gaps.

Gohdes, whose research mainly focuses on contentious politics in the cyber realm, with an emphasis on large-scale quantitative analyses of state behaviour, has also worked on women’s advancement in quantitative research and has co-organized the Summer School of Women in Political Methodology since 2017.

Access the full paper here.


More about Anita Gohdes

  • Anita Gohdes , Professor of International and Cyber Security