This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses the theoretical challenges and the different levels of analysis – the academic labour market, the organisational context and the subjective experiences – that are useful for exploring the relationship between gender and precariousness in higher education. It overviews the issues involved in studying the gendered precariousness of academic careers from a cross-national comparative perspective. The book examines how neoliberal managerialism affects budgets and organisational practices in academic institutions and research centres, and how they foster the precarisation of academic employment. It presents a comparative analysis of the gendered construction of excellence in recruitment and selection practices for early career researchers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and social sciences and humanities institutes, departments and faculties involved in the project. The book focuses on policies and measures to promote gender equality, career opportunities and working conditions of early career researchers.