Skip to main content

B.1.1 | “Strong motherly feelings do not vanish through genuinely acquired education”.
Academization and Professionalization of Women

Priesching, Nicole / Wachter, Henning – Paderborn

The aim of the project is to describe how Catholic women experienced ‘being Catholic,’ by examining conflicts that arose in the course of the academization and professionalization of traditionally female vocations in the social and charity sectors.  It studies women at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine-Westphalia (Katholische Hochschule NRW or KathHO NRW), founded in 1971 with locations in Aachen, Cologne, Münster, and Paderborn.  The establishment of these technical colleges changed the occupational profiles and gender roles of men and women, on the one hand, and of religious and lay women, on the other.  This can be described and examined with reference to the change from a discourse of motherliness to one of professionalization -- in other words a change of semantics.  The transfer from theory to practice within education structures is of special interest for the project.  It will also explore to what extent the female students at the KatHO perceived their role in society as one of transcending the boundaries of traditional spaces and how their social involvement related to their being Catholic.  Finally, interviews with former students are expected to cast light on the emotions they experienced in the course of this process of change.  The project aims to show how Catholic women of the 1970s and 1980s combined being Catholic with their gender identity.