Contact Information

Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch

Department of Social Sciences  (» Postal address)

A06-4-405 (» Adress and map )

+49 441 798-2152  (F&P


Zemke, Kerstin

Heyen, Isolde

A6 4-401


Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Fakultät I
Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118 
Universität Oldenburg 
D-26111 Oldenburg

Sociology of Social Inequalities

Welcome to the Homepage of the Assistant Professorship for Sociology of Social Inequalities.

The Working Group Social Inequalities investigates the emergence and change of social inequalities from a comparative life course perspective. Of particular interest to us are intra- and intergenerational family processes in the context of different (socio)political frameworks and opportunity structures. The focus is primarily on inequalities in the labor market, in the family, and in the acquisition of education and skills over the life course. In theory-driven, quantitative empirical research, we use longitudinal data such as the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), pairfam, or the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). More on current research projects can be found here. The WG cooperates closely with colleagues from various non-university research institutions, including the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), the Else-Frenkel-Brunswik-Institute (EFBI) or the Federal Institute for Population Research (BIB).

In teaching, the WG offers various seminars on the dimensions and determinants of social inequality. We are happy to supervise BA or MA theses of students who want to conduct their own empirical analyses.

Job advertisement

Two student assistant positions

Are you interested in social issues, do you work independently and carefully, and would you like to be actively involved in conducting and communicating scientific research? Apply now! The research group Social Inequality of Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch is looking for two student assistants starting in October/November 2022. They will support the team in various research projects and in the preparation of teaching.

For more information, please see the job advertisement.


Prof. Gundula Zoch in Podcast-Interview on Gender Pay Gap

What needs to happen that women and men in Germany are finally paid equally for equal work of equal value? How do we set the course for fair pay in the working world of tomorrow? How do shorter working days create equal career opportunities for women and men? These questions are examined in the Equal Pay Day Podcast with Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch.

The gender pay gap currently stands at 18 percent, or 66 calendar days of unpaid work for women. The next Equal Pay Day will therefore take place on March 7, 2023. The Equal Pay Day campaign, an initiative of Business and Professional Women (BPW) Germany e.V. sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), draws attention to the existing gender pay gap even beyond the campaign day. More at:

BA- und MA-Thesis

New guide for editing theses online

Students who are interested in writing a thesis in the field of social inequality can find more information on topic arrangement and registration here. Further information on the dates of the colloquium can be found at the beginning of the semester on StudIP.

Research Visit & Consultation Hours during the Semester Break

Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford

Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch will spend the semester break as a visiting researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford. Consultation hours will therefore be offered online only. Please send a short email with your questions and three suggested appointments.

New DFG Project

Working Mothers and Child Development

The employment of mothers has increased significantly in many industrialised countries, and therefore over time family life and the environment in which children grow up have changed. The compatibility of work and family varies considerably with employment conditions, e.g. due to occupation, workplace, region and by social groups. This can result in significant differences in children's early learning environments. But what exactly are the influences of employment conditions and local labour markets on child development? This question is being investigated in a new DFG project led by Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch and Dr. Mathias Hübener (DIW Berlin). As things stand, the DFG funding amounts to a total of around 440,000 € and is scheduled to run for 36 months from autumn 2022. Two PhD student positions (65%) and student assistantships will be offered soon. Interested parties are invited to contact the working group Sociology of Social Inequalities via email. More information can be found here.

BA and MA Theses

New Colloquium for Final Theses Starting SS 2022

Starting in the summer semester of 2022, the working group Sociology of Social Inequalities will offer a supporting colloquium for writers of a BA or MA thesis. In the colloquium, methods of scientific working will be revised and deepened, and the contents of the theses will be discussed together. This way, students can also support each other in the preparation of their theses.

Those interested in writing a thesis in the field of social inequality can find more information on the topic agreement and registration here. Further information on the dates of the colloquium will be uploaded in StudIP at the beginning of the semester.

Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch becomes Fellow of the Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN)

International Network for Work and Family Research launches new Fellowship Round

As part of the Early Career Fellowship Program, Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch will be in regular contact with over 500 international WFRN Fellows who are also conducting research on the compatibility of family and work. Acceptance as a Fellow is accompanied by an invitation to the WFRN Conference in New York. This year's conference, entitled "Work-Family Justice: Practices, Partnerships & Possibilities", is dedicated to the current challenges of reconciling work and family.

The US-American Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) has been networking academic work and family researchers from a broad range of fields worldwide since 2010. The network's comprehensive and multifaceted program supports doctoral researchers in their research and teaching, in expanding their academic network and their long-term careers.

New Publication in the Journal of Family Research

Childcare, work or worries? What explains the decline in parents' well-being at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany?

The Corona pandemic is placing a particularly heavy burden on working parents in Germany. Against this background, the publication examines how life satisfaction of working mothers and fathers changed in the first months of the pandemic. Using data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), the authors show that life satisfaction of working mothers has decreased more than of working fathers. These gender differences can, however, not be fully explained by the pandemic-related closure of schools and care facilities and the changed working and living conditions. Still, the results show that the life satisfaction of parents with access to emergency childcare has deteriorated less than for working parents without care.

The full article is freely accessible here.

New Publication in Gender, Work & Organization

Reduced Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic – the Role of Working Conditions

How the Corona pandemic affects the satisfaction of men and women is the subject of a recent publication in the journal "Gender, Work & Organisation". Using data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), the authors show that the life satisfaction of all respondents dropped significantly during the pandemic. Childless women and mothers are hit particularly hard. Faced with closed schools and childcare facilities, mothers often assume responsibility for childcare more than fathers. Societal concerns and feelings of loneliness also weigh more heavily on the life satisfaction of women than that of men.

The complete article is freely accessible here.

Nomination for Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award 2021

Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch Nominated for Award of Work- and Family Research

The Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellency in Work-Family-Research nominates outstanding research articles in the field of family and work research every year.

The award is given to English-language publications in international journals with outstanding use of methods and strong theoretical references. In her publication, Prof. Dr. Gundula Zoch examines how educational inequalities in the labour force participation of mothers have changed against the background of the expansion of daycare centres in East and West Germany. The results show that mothers with higher educational qualifications in particular benefit from more childcare options. The article was published in the Journal of European Social Policy.

The nominated article is freely accessible here. Further information on the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award nominations can be found here.

New Publication in Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung - Journal for Research on Adult Education

Work-related online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany

The COVID-19 pandemic has made access to face-to-face learning opportunities – the most common form of adult learning – impossible. This gap could be filled by learning opportunities via apps or online videos that are flexibly available in terms of time and space.

Against this background, a team of researchers from the University of Oldenburg, LIfBi, WZB and IAB is investigating the extent to which employees have increased their use of online learning opportunities in the first months of the pandemic. Based on data from the National Education Panel (NEPS), the study show that the use of work-related online learning opportunities did indeed increase during the first months. At the same time, however, educational inequalities in the use of such opportunities also increased. Above all, respondents with a university degree use the opportunity of online learning significantly more often.

The complete article is freely accessible here.

New Assistant Professorship

Dr. Gundula Zoch appointed Assistant Professorship for Sociology of Social Inequalities

Dr. Gundula Zoch is appointed Assistant Professorship for Sociology of Social Inequalities at the Institute for Social Sciences of the University of Oldenburg. She was previously a research associate at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) in Bamberg. Dr. Zoch will continue her association with the LIfBi as a Research Fellow in order to implement ongoing and upcoming research projects.

After studying sociology and economics in Leipzig and London, Dr. Zoch worked as a research assistant at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin. She was then a doctoral scholar at the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences at the University of Bamberg, funded by the German Excellence Initiative. She received several awards for her dissertation thesis, which dealt with the expansion of childcare in East and West Germany. In 2020, she also received the Bettina Paetzold Teaching Award from the University of Bamberg.

In her research, Dr. Zoch deals with the causes and consequences of social inequalities in employment and family work. Her empirical analyses of large longitudinal surveys such as the National Education Panel focus on continuing differences between East and West Germany, for example in maternal employment or prevailing role models. In third-party funded projects, she is currently investigating the effects of the Corona pandemic and how job loss and employment insecurity influence the development of children.

(Changed: 28 Sep 2022)