Gender in the social sciences: field of study or form of inequity?

By Ann Curthoys


This paper considers the three main ways in which social scientists are concerned with gender—as a field of study, as an analytical tool and as a social phenomenon structuring the social sciences themselves. It begins with a reconsideration of a report I wrote for the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1998 on gender in the social sciences, and moves on to consider what has changed since then, emphasising the substantial internationalisation of Australian scholarship in thinking, method, focus, collaboration and communication. With the growing alliance of gender studies with cultural studies and the transformation of the latter from an interdisciplinary project into a new discipline, I suggest, feminist scholarship has become much more disciplinary in focus. For this reason, it has become important to understand why it is that women have found it much harder to achieve parity with men in some disciplines than others, and why it is that within disciplines, there remain strong gender differences. It concludes by observing that the vitality of gender scholarship depends significantly on its continuing engagement with public concerns and issues.

Citation: Curthoys, A. (2014). Gender in the social sciences: Field of study or form or inequity? Australian Feminist Studies, 29(80), 115-120.

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