Gertrud Pfister looks back to a long academic career starting with a PhD in history, followed by another PhD in sociology. From 1980 to 2000, she was employed as professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin and was appointed to a full professor position at the University of Copenhagen in 2001. She received two honorary doctorates, was twice awarded with the Order of Merit (second and first degree) of the Federal Republic of Germany, and knighted by the queen of Denmark.
Pfister conducted a number of large national and international research projects, many of them focused on sport and exercises of girls and women or, more general, on gender issues in sport and society; she has published more than 300 articles and 40 books.
Pfister played and still plays a leading role in various sport related scientific communities. From 1983 to 2001 she was president of the International Society for the History of Sport, from 2004 to 2008 she was the head of the International Sport Sociology Association. Since 2016 she is professor emerita and has time to read and write. All her life, Gertrud Pfister has been active in sport, in particular in skiing, tennis and long distance running.