This chapter analyses the academic identities of young female academics as actors in a changing environment, when the academic system and academic institutions are ‘striving’ towards better positions in rankings. The research draws its data from interviews with 16 young academics (eight female and eight male) and 16 professors/chair holders in five different universities in Russia. The analysis reveals that an academic career becomes too challenging for many female academics due to the increased demands on research productivity and a high workload. Low pay in the higher education sector increases the financial dependency of female academics on their families. This exacerbates the conflict between work and domestic responsibilities. Female academics feel that they lack control over their professional biographies. Many young academics consider leaving academia in the face of increasing academic job requirements and the demands at work.

Keywords: academia, higher education, gender, Russia, capabilities, gender gap