European Political Science

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 281–291 | Cite as

introduction: gender in european political science education – taking stock and future directions

  • liza mügge
  • elizabeth evans
  • isabelle engeli


Major changes have occurred in the teaching of gender since the shift from women’s studies to gender studies. In some institutions gender studies became a separate and interdisciplinary track within social sciences and humanities, while in others it either lacked integration or disappeared altogether. What do these developments mean for gender in political science curricula? In this symposium scholars from different European countries, including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom reflect on the state of gender within political science education. This introductory essay places national experiences within a broader European perspective; highlighting that gender is virtually absent from much of the political science curriculum. Gender and political science courses suffer from issues of supply (rather than demand), such as the persistent under-representation of women academics within political science as well as tight budget constraints. We argue that this is problematic and that gender should be a core part of the political science curricula for three key reasons: (i) politics is about power and power is always gendered; (ii) embedding gender in the core of political science education may positively affect gender equality in the profession and politics; and (iii) it reflects the contemporary resurgence of feminist activism across Europe. We conclude with concrete recommendations about how institutions and individuals can help address the virtual absence of gender, including: the integration of gender-related courses in politics programs; Gender & Politics related awards; big data collection projects regarding women in the profession and gender and politics teaching; and the development of leadership courses for women in politics.


political science teaching and learning gender feminism political science associations 



This symposium is based on the panel ‘Gender in Political Science Education’ organized by the authors at the ECPR General Conference in Glasgow (2014); the authors acknowledge Kelly Kollman for acting as a discussant. They thank the anomyous reviewer for the valuable comments on an earlier version of this introduction. Liza Mügge’s work was supported by a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research [016.145.022]. She also thanks the Harvard Kennedy School Women & Public Policy Programme for hosting her as fellow (2014–2015) and Jane Mansbridge for the inspiring exchanges on gender mainstreaming the political science curricula on both sides of the Atlantic.


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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of BristolBristol BS8 1TUUK
  3. 3.University of BathBath BA1 2ANUK

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