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The Perfect Course of Life (CV) and Double-Career Couples in Science

Sigrid Helene Metz-Goeckel


In spite of very good qualifications, young female scientists rarely reach the top positions in German universities. The paper discusses changes in requirements for an excellent academic career and the discrepancy between the norm of individual achievement and dependency on professional and private support. Due to government de-regulation and the flexibility of workforce required under neo-liberal ideology, in recent years the economic situation of young scientists has deteriorated and competition has increased. The construction of a perfect CV now takes the full attention of young scientists on their way to the top and demands the whole person. The paper argues that a gender gap is produced by different resources in the personal and professional life of male and female scientists. Increased requirements lead to stress as a central aspect of all stages of the career journey and encourage women more than men to leave science. Women scientists somehow have different images of their personal life in mind. They live linked lives, mostly in double career-partnerships and with caring responsibilities. Although, the change in double-career-couples goes from a complementary to a competitive or sometimes symmetrical relationship, this does not support men and women equally, due to the societal gender hierarchy which favors men’s rather than women’s career. Successful female scientists compensate for the gender gap through private support.


Perfect CV, personal and professional support, stress, double career couples, academic career

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