Mara Yerkes appointed professor

Mara Yerkes has been appointed Professor of Comparative Social Policy in relation to Social Inequalities as of 1 February 2023. Yerkes aims to study, among other things, what explains differences in social policy within and between countries. “I want to study how policy influences social inequalities, and how these inequalities are experienced by various individuals and groups.”

Mara Yerkes
Mara Yerkes. Photo: Ivo van der Bent

Yerkes says she will use her chair to focus on strengthening research into four related themes. Firstly, she will look at the relationship between social policy and social inequality, particularly in relation to gender. In addition, she wants to research combinations of inequalities, such as gender in relation to generational differences, socioeconomic differences and geographic differences. She also aims to explore the interplay of policies within and between policy domains. Lastly, she will research the interplay between social policies at the national and local (municipal) levels.


The Utrecht University professor says her research is important because social inequality remains persistent. “Even prior to the pandemic, the ‘wicked nature’ of inequalities such as those related to gender or socio-economic differences was apparent, as they are neither easily articulated nor easily solved. The pandemic has exacerbated many of these inequalities and created new ones, underscoring the need for interdisciplinary and multi-method research on these topics, which is the focus of my chair.”

One of the things I love most about my job is the multiple collaborations I have with people.

New collaborations

Her appointment as professor will give Yerkes a platform for collaboration on important themes with colleagues from within and outside Utrecht University. “One of the things I love most about my job is the multiple collaborations I have with people – within our department, within the faculty, and with colleagues in the Netherlands and abroad. I’m really looking forward to strengthening and developing these collaborations along the research lines of my chair.”