Being a Couple: Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block for Female Careers?


This project examines the influence of partnership features (e.g., beginning of partnership, biological and institutional age, national and social background of both partners) for female careers in Academia and differentiates between the constellations of occupational areas and the disciplines. The integration (linked lives) processes of two life courses and two professional careers within the couple are taken into greater account by involving and contrasting both the differentiated career arrangements and other types of arrangement – e.g. with regard to mobility and work division – over and above the “dual career” arrangement.

The three major questions of this project are (1) whether and which specific partnership features are relevant for the formation of integration arrangements in different career and family phases; (2) how partnership features “mediate” the influence of different integration arrangements on the male and female partner’s professional development; (3) how national and historic contexts influence the “linked lives” potential of couples and the consequences for their professional careers.

The empirical analyzes will utilize standardized telephone interviews of academics and their partners that have been carried out in the framework of the project “Dual careers: The entwined life courses of academic couples” (financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research – BMBF – and the European Social Fund – ESF).

Pilot project: “Dual careers: The entwined life courses of academic couples”