Dr. Andrea Wolffram
Dr. Wolffram studied sociology, political sciences and pedagogy at the universities of Regensburg and Hanover, received her doctorate on the topic of “Women in technology studies” at the TU Brunswick in 2002 and is currently working on her habilitation in the field of changes in gender hierarchies at the RWTH Aachen University. From December 2018 until May 2021 she held the position of a visiting professor for “Gender and Technology Studies” at the Institute for Machine Construction at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg.
Motto: Careers are diverse – there is always a way to be found through openness and flexibility.
|Education:||1990 - 1996||Studies of sociology, political sciences and pedagogy at the universities of Regensburg and Hanover with a focus on gender studies|
|Doctorate:||2002||Technical university Brunswick|
|Work:||1998-2002||Doctoral student at the TU Brunswick and research associate at the university of applied sciences East Frisia|
|2003-2008||Deputy head of the working group work-gender-technology at the faculty of mechanical engineering, TU Hamburg-Harburg|
|2008-2014||Deputy head of the staff position Gender and Diversity Management at the RWTH Aachen|
|2014-2016||Guest professor at the Leibniz-University Hanover at the faculty of mechanical engineering and the institute of sociology|
|Seit 2016||Senior Researcher at the institute of sociology at the RWTH Aachen University|
|2018-2021||Marianne-Schminder guest professor with the denomination Gender at the faculty of mechanical engineering of the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg|
Finding a field of study and starting my studies was dominated by an exploration since I was interested in both natural sciences and questions of society. I ended up choosing sociology since a friend of mine could give me a direct look into the subject and managed to spark my enthusiasm. During my studies unequal chances for women in their jobs and scientific careers were always a topic and I focused on women’s careers in male-dominated fields. After graduating I again had to choose between two career perspectives: either a position in gender equality politics or to continue researching in the field. Being accepted into a doctoral program helped me decide to further my research on the topic. Nowadays I am still researching but also teaching. My focus is on the diverse questions and perspectives of gender in and on technology and career pathways in technological fields.
The high level of autonomy and formability within my own work are a precious asset of scientific research. The opportunity to follow new and open questions whenever I focus on a new topic enthuses me. The discussion of my research with the specialist community, my coworkers and especially with international colleagues enriches me very much. I am also motivated when I work with interested and actively engaged students during my lectures and seminars. From these discussions I find new and exciting new research perspectives and I enjoy getting positive feedback for my teaching.
For a career pathway in the sciences you need curiosity, perseverance, a tolerance for frustration and being able to be unsure. Besides that, the ability to work in a systematic and analytical manner is essential.
In the sciences it is crucially important to build a network of contacts that support you in your professional as well as personal development. Having supportive relationships with your colleagues, that can become friends eventually, enriches your work and heightens your enthusiasm for the sciences. But you also need the courage to introduce your work and your scientific perspectives to the so-called gatekeepers of your field and thus get advice and support from them. These people can become essential parts of your personal network. Participating in mentoring programs gives you another opportunity to develop and get support as well as expand your network.
Scientific careers too often orient themselves on the traditional model of the “ideal scientist”, who has no interests and obligations besides their research. For scientists it can be hard to reconcile their careers that have high time and mobility requirements with other parts of their lives. A good network can help in this difficult task. Even with the gender hierarchy in society and the workplace continuously changing, women in the sciences have to show the commitment for a scientific career that they are sometimes denied.