© Arne Feldmann

Research at the Centre for Theological Gender Studies

The Centre for Theological Gender Studies initiates, supports and connects the research with a focus on gender undertaken by its members. This way, the research focuses and projects at the centre are as diverse and multidisciplinary as its members.

On these websites you can find …

… insights into current research projects at the Centre for Theological Gender Studies

… publications with a focus on gender that were written or edited by members of the Centre for Theological Gender Studies.

Teach Tank "Lehrbausteine Gender in Theologie"

Projekt picture "brick"
© Theresa Focke

Theological Gender Studies are broadly anchored in research and teaching at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the WWU Münster.

Nevertheless, within the wide field of theological topics, it is still very difficult to introduce ideas that refer to theological gender studies and open up corresponding questions. To handle these difficulties, easily accessible materials and methods are required for academical theological teaching.

Therefore, the Centre for Theological Gender Studies founded the project Teach Tank “Lehrbausteine Gender in Theologie”. It aims at drawing further attention towards the question of gender equality in theological teaching and research.

Using archived as well as tried-and-tested materials, methods and session formats, the Center for Theological Gender Studies has developed teaching modules that can be used either digitally or analogously by all faculty lecturers. The aim of the project is to promote discussions about gender (in)equality, feminist approaches, and current developments in theological gender studies, in all four theological sections. The material shall also provide helpful suggestions to related faculties.

The materials can be found online. Members of the University of Münster can get access to the learning platform “Learnweb”. If you are interested, please contact:

After the first release for the Faculty in October 2022 the project is in the phase of feedback and further development now. A bigger release for the broader public is planned for 2024.
For this project, the Center for Theological Gender Studies in Münster was awarded the WWU Münster Equality Price at the New Year´s reception 2020 [de].
Additional information you can find here.

Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment in the German Catholic Women’s Association (kfd)

Prof. Dr. Judith Könemann & Prof. Dr. Reinhard Feiter
Project of the KFD

The German Catholic Women’s Association contributed significantly to women’s participation in leadership functions with the help of the implementation of the ministry of female spiritual director/accompanist. Beside the Catholic spiritual enhancement of the kfd, the ministry includes work in the areas of preaching, social work and pastoral care.
In 2009, a first study evaluated the development and the new structures that resulted from the implementation of this ministry. Now, ten years later, this project reflects on the reception of the spiritual leaders/accompanists on various levels again.

In addition to a quantitative survey, interviews with spiritual leaders/accompanists were conducted. 

In November 2021 the research team presented the results and delivered the research report to the federal board of the kfd. In April 2023 Prof Judith Könemann and Lina Böhle presented the results again at a digital study day. The main foci were:

  • number, implementation and design of the ministry
  • spiritual leaders’/accompanists’ reception and acceptance
  • areas of tension and conflicts
  • spiritual leaders’/accompanists’ self-conception

To present and reflect the results of the study further, the research team plans to develop an anthology.

Theological and Ethical Gender Studies

Prof. Dr. Marianne Heimbach-Steins
Mind the Gap
© Pixabay

In almost all fields of Christian Social Ethics questions about gender relations arise. The ICS focuses on several aspects, especially one project will be presented below:

Precarious Recognition: The ‘Third Gender’ in the Perspective of Christian Social Ethics

The project analyses the social effects of the decision of the Bundesverfassungsgericht regarding the so-called "third gender" from October 2017 from a socio-ethical and philosophical point of view. It examines the current political and social debate under the leading question: Which new social conflicts are produced by the legal recognition and how can theological ethics make a productive contribution to dealing with these conflicts? As a critical instance of reflection, the project pays special attention to the Catholic Church, insofar as it is a social actor involved in the conflicts of recognition of the third gender. Among other things, the project analyses how the Church, given its ethical and metaphysical tradition, can deal with the changes and participate in the civic dialogue.

Here you can find further information on the project:

Working Paper from the ICS

Maren Behrensen, research assistant at the ICS, reflects on the document “Male and Female He Created Them” by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Here you can find the essay. [de]