Petra Ahrens


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About Petra Ahrens

In my research, I work on on gender politics in the European Union, inequalities in organisations, in particular gendered power relations and political strategies like gender mainstreaming, and gender equality and social politics in Germany.

Through the EU research program Horizon 2020, I was awarded a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship titled „Effects of Institutional Change on Participatory Democracy and the Involvement of Civil Society Organisations” (DemocInChange). I am researching how the de- and re-institutionalization of gender+ equality structures on the supranational EU level influences the chances of “equality CSOs” in participating in policy-making. I study inequalities in organisations and exclusionary practices of EU policy-making by combining research on social movements, participatory democracy and intersectionality.

I studied social sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and political sciences and humanities at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (Erasmus). Inequalities and power relations among actors were also subject of my sociological PhD Thesis “The Sound of Silence – Institutionalising Gender Equality Policy in the European Union” (magna cum laude/with great distinction); defended 2014 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I analysed, how supranational actors change institutional structures and rules that in turn cause processes of slow-down in developing gender equality policy programs. From 2014 to 2016 I was assistant professor at the Department of Political Sciences, Humboldt-Universität on the subject sociology of work and gender relations.

As regards teaching, I am committed to a holistic understanding of guided learning, which includes next to lectures and seminars also other formats like blended learning and other contexts such as academic writing coaching. In 2016, I completed the “Berlin Certificate of Teaching Internationally”.

Next to my scientific career, I have gained work experience as a policy consultant in various projects linked to public policy and administration and the linkage between supranational and national institutions. Here, I learned to act as a broker between public administration, academia, as well as the interested public. As an external expert to the Agency for Gender Equality within the European Social Fund, I provided scientifically guided practical assistance to federal German ministries on how to implement EU gender equality goals.

Last but not least, I am co-editor of the European Journal of Politics and Gender ( and the German feminist journal Femina Politica (

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