Gender equality and compatibility of family and scientific career

The University of Göttingen can look back on more than 20 years of consistent engagement with issues of gender equality which has led to major achievements on an institutional level. This has been recognized by the DFG, ranking the University of Göttingen among the best on the advanced level "Stufe 4" with regard to the implementation of research-oriented standards of gender equality. Furthermore the University's strong commitment to Equal Opportunity has been certified by the Total E-Quality Science Award, repeatedly and most recently in 2011.

The University of Göttingen and the Max-Planck-Institutes in Göttingen support gender equality by a number of already established measures and programs. These include among others:

  • FamilienService:
  • The University's FamilienService affiliated with the Equal Opportunities Office offers advice and assistance in questions concerning reconciliation of family needs with academic, student or professional life, and organizes flexible child care during conferences, off-hours and in emergency situations.
  • Gender Equality Controlling:
  • The Gender Equality Controlling Unit is affiliated with the Equal Opportunities Office. Universities are being increasingly challenged to provide gender disaggregated data and to perform a serious level of oversight of equal opportunity measures. This unit organizes and provides basic data that capture gender relations in collaborative research as well as in university committees and commissions.
  • Gender Equality in Collaborative Research:
  • Research-oriented gender equality has moved into the centre of decision-making processes in higher education policy. The project aims at developing an innovative campus-wide framework contributing to the advancement of women in collaborative research units.
  • The Dorothea Schlözer Programme:
  • offers fellowships for female PhD students and postdocs including career coaching and an intensive qualification programme that fosters female career development.
  • The Pilot Project "Coaching for newly appointed female professors"
  • is tailored to assist young female professors with regard to various duties and functions in their role as a leader

While these programs and measures are successfully established by now, the proposed CRC has a strong commitment to providing a research environment that supports diversity among scientists with respect to gender, religion, ethnic origin as well as towards people with special needs.

In order to encourage female scientists and to actively promote their careers, a catalogue of specific measures will be implemented by the CRC 1073, among others - only to mention some of them:

  • Active recruitment of qualified women for open positions - both on the doctoral and postdoctoral level.

  • An Equal Opportunity Committee represented in the CRC board offering advice regarding issues related to gender equality

  • Setting up workshops for new members of the CRC in collaboration with the other CRCs (see e.g.Mentoring program)

  • Developing common strategies together with the other CRCs at the North Campus in order to provide excellent support of PIs and PhD students with families in all kind of administration duties, routine work, travel organization and other kinds of non-scientific workload to ensure that scientists can focus their valuable time on excellent research and teaching and spending more time with their families.

  • Short-term International Mentorships: the CRC will participate in the STIM program giving young female researchers the opportunity to travel abroad and to visit internationally renowned researchers. Mentees will thereby gain international experience leading to the acquisition of valuable contacts for further career planning.
  • Equal opportunity monitoring: A pilot project will be set up in collaboration with the central Equal Opportunity Office. As part of this, a yearly report, providing statistical data and describing the status and recent developments of gender equality in the CRC will be generated.

  • Mentoring program:
  • In collaboration with other the CRCs we established a mentoring program for female PhD students and postdocs encouraging them to pursue a scientific career and providing them with role models. This includes identifying established and highly acknowledged female scholars willing to support this program. These mentors will be invited to present and discuss their research with the mentees. Female PhD students and postdocs will then have the opportunity to informally discuss science and also career and gender related questions with them. The program can (but does not have to) also include short research visits (weeks to months) in the mentors lab (abroad). Female as well as male students will benefit greatly from an exchange program of this kind. Hence, providing the possibility to network at an early stage, the program will encourage female scientists and strengthen their scientific standing to a great extent - not only on a short term basis but, even more importantly, throughout their scientific career. Additionally, we could benefit from the view-point the mentors bring with them, and identify gender barriers as such that still exist in our scientific setting, but might have been overcome elsewhere.