Equal Opportunities and Work-Family Compatibility
The universities of Göttingen and Hannover consider equal opportunities for women and men and work-family compatibility as fundamental preconditions for the full realization of the existing potential for excellence in research, teaching, and training of junior researchers. The equality strategy places particular emphasis on supporting the academic career of female scientists. Both universities follow gender-sensitive selection processes and ensure family-friendly work environments, including support for dual career opportunities and child care facilities. Existing measures include special career development and qualification program for female researchers that are designed to improve research and career management skills. In addition, a mentoring and coaching program is offered, but not all offers include PhD students. The RTG benefits from the gender equality measures already existing at the universities and complements them with additional measures tailored to the needs of participants.
As part of the RTG qualification program, we offer a number of soft skill courses and workshops, all taught by professional trainers. To explicitly enhance gender and diversity competences, more specialized courses will be offered during the second phase. For the PhD students, participation in at one of these specific courses is compulsory, and all other RTG members are encouraged to take part. We plan to organize three courses with a specific gender and diversity focus, e.g. "gender and diversity", "leadership competences for diverse teams", "change management", "conflict management", "intercultural communication".
In order to support career development of our female PhD students we will continue to offer three instruments.
First, female PhD students can participate at workshops helping to prepare their further professional career. These workshops will be tailored to the RTG and will include topics like "formation of a scientific profile", "work-life balance", "successful and authentic self-presentation", "empowerment and negotiations", etc. The workshops will help participants to enhance their overall planning skills and discuss general issues that women are confronted with in their professional life. In addition, they can participate in the regular coaching and mentoring program organized centrally by both universities, e.g. the LUH mentoring program in Hannover or the Schlözer program in Göttingen.
Second, we offer individual coaching sessions. Currently, such an offer is available under the umbrella of the Dorothea Schlözer-Program in Göttingen, but only for female professors and postdocs. We extend this kind of offer also to female researchers of the RTG (PhD students and Postdocs). The individual coaching sessions can be targeted to aspects of the individual personal career development. Coaches can be selected individually or from the pool of trainers that the University’s Equal Opportunities Office have already worked with.
Third, networking is a central aspect for being successful in academia. Having the chance to personally interact with women that are professionally successful can be very encouraging for young female researchers. Thus, we will invite successful female economics professors talking about their career in general, thus providing excellent role models, and advising about gender issues in particular. While the talks are open to all RTG members, there will be additional networking meetings that are only open to female participants, e.g., a networking dinner. This will give female researchers the chance to interact more directly with the female role models and also discuss personal questions. It also gives a unique opportunity to establish female career networks.
Regarding work-family compatibility, we implement six measures: First, we commit ourselves to avoid any meetings on weekends and we try to limit working evenings as much as possible. Second, in order to provide attractive working conditions, we complement existing child care institutions by organizing child care for RTG meetings outside the regular working time. In addition, we provide child care funds at other places (for example during field trips or while attending conferences abroad), and depending on the individual situation, in some cases the best solution might be to travel together with their children and a person taking care for the children. Third, we organize the possibility to partly work from home in cases of child care needs. The research in the RTG involves mostly desktop work which can easily be practiced in economics (there are also obvious disadvantages). Fourth, we support dual career couples by engaging helpful institutions, including the university presidential offices, the gender equality offices and university institutions being responsible for partnership with the private sector. Fifth, we offer on a voluntary basis the participation at a workshop about career and family management. Sixth, we plan to support parents through funding additional student assistants taking over routine tasks (or support field work) to assist scientists with young children.