Antonia Sudkaemper

My name is Antonia Sudkaemper, I am a PhD Candidate in Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter (UK). My research investigates how men can support gender equality, and why they might or might not do so.  


After completing high school in Germany in 2010, I acquired a BSc in Psychology (2013) and a Research MSc in Behavioural Sciences (2015) at the University of Groningen (NL). I was fortunate to do parts of my degrees at the University of Johannesburg (SA) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively, which endowed me with unique research experiences in different disciplines of psychology. Next to my studies, I enjoy being active and outdoors (running, football, cycling, ...) and love meeting new people in exciting places - cannot get enough of travelling. 


One of my current main aims is to make a contribution towards more gender equality. I like to engage in all kinds of activities to this purpose - certainly my PhD research (see below), but I am also involved in non-academic projects (e.g. organising the GenSTEM conference, advising the  Wilberforce Society on a policy paper on gender equality, contributing to  GenPol) and activismI am interested in discussing and supporting new projects - please contact me if you have any ideas. 


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My main research focuses on men's support for gender equality, specifically I am interested in how men can support gender equality, and why they might or might not do so.  


I argue that men's support for gender equality is essential for at least three reasons. First, minority groups' (women) causes have been shown to benefit from support of members of the majority group (men). Second, a large part of all societal power and decision-making positions are still held by men - to make a change we need to get those on board who affect gender equality every day through their decisions. And third, at this point men do no engage in an equal proportion of household chores and childcare. Only when men take over 50% of these tasks at home can women excel to their full potential in the workplace.


In the first part of my PhD I investigated how men can support gender equality. I demonstrated that men's support for gender equality can be differentiated between two types of support: public and domestic support for gender equality. Public support comprises actions that address gender inequality in public places, for instance in the workplace. Examples include encouraging female colleagues to take on leadership positions, or speaking up when witnessing gender inequality. Domestic support describes the engagement in nontraditional gender roles within a man's own home environment. Examples include sharing housework and childcare equally with one's female partner. I have developed the Support for Gender Equality among Men Scale (SGEMS) which measures each type of support. 

Currently, I am working on the second part of my PhD investigating why men might or might not support gender equality domestically. I link domestic support for gender equality to the theory of precarious manhoodAccording to this theory, men experience a constant pressure to publicly prove their manhood as it is a state that is "difficult to achieve and tenuous to hold". Men hold their manhood status by avoiding all that is feminine, especially in front of their male peers. In line, we found evidence that men who are happy to engage in domestic chores do not like to admit to it in front of other men. This is problematic as it slows down the journey towards gender equality by sustaining gender roles.


I would like to thank my supervisors Prof. Michelle RyanDr. Teri Kirby, and Dr. Thekla Morgenroth for their incredible support. I would further like to thank the SWDTC for funding this project.