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Focus on Fairness

Within the joint projects of the DFG (SFB/TR/GRK) there exists a strong commitment to promote diversity and equal opportunity for female researchers. To that effect, programmes have been incorporated in all projects. And there is a very good reason for that: Although the advantages of equal participation of men and women in research and science are well known, far too many women leave academic research during the doctoral or postdoctoral phase.

To counteract this trend, offers for female researchers addressing professional advancement as well as the compatibility of family and career are provided for within the joint projects. This newsletter is designed to provide you as SFB/TR/GRK-members with information and give you an overview of events.

We look forward to your feedback, wishes and suggestions.

Lena Esplá und
Agnes Speck


and News

Current Announcement of the Olympia Morata Programme

The programme supports advanced female postdocs of Heidelberg University. More information can be found here.

The Body as Medium – The Good Breast Documentary: U.S. Breast Cancer in the Age of the Mastectomy

Bernadette Wegenstein, Professor of Media Studies and Director, Center for Advanced Media Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 6:15pm
HCA, Curt und Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais
Hauptstraße 120, 69117 Heidelberg
In cooperation with the Heidelberg Center for American Studies

One-day Seminar: Presentation Skills for Women

This course looks specifically at the communication behaviour of women in the context of presentations and talks, focusing, for example on body language and the debating skills of women.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017, 9am-6pm
Bergheimerstraße 58a, 4311 / SR 2
Registration required, an offer from the Career Service subject to charges

Career Advice Intensive – Compact Individual Coaching

This offer focuses on the prospects, planning and building of an academic career. During a one-on-one, intensive counselling session with Dr Beate Scholz you can analyse your current situation and discuss your next steps.

Since the number of places is limited, early registration is advisable.

Date during winter semester 2016/2017: Friday, 3 February 2017, 9:30am-5pm

Concierge Service: New section

Be it a moving company, repair shop or household help – the Concierge-Service of Heidelberg University assists all members of the University with finding adequate help in everyday life, around the house and garden, free of charge. Our website features the new "Service" section – here you can find an overview of the delivery services of supermarkets, local farms and beverage stores in and around Heidelberg, allowing you to do your shopping from home.


Gender Consulting

The Equal Opportunities Office offers support in planning and implementing equal opportunity measures, if information on the topic of gender equality is needed for research proposals and projects, or if you would like to have such applications reviewed from the perspective of equal opportunity.

Individual Funding

With this fund the University has created an equal opportunity back-up, with which to offer timely support in difficult circumstances. Upon application, university members can receive selective financial aid. This applies especially to individual solutions designed to support women in their academic qualification.

Research Support 
and Programmes


With this qualification programme, Heidelberg University promotes young female researchers by funding part-time positions to support qualified female researchers in their habilitation or comparable qualification at Heidelberg University.

Margarete von Wrangell Habilitation Programme

Qualified female researchers should be encouraged to pursue a postdoctoral qualification. The Margarete von Wrangell Habilitation Programme is announced regularly by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Wuerttemberg and generates positions to support female researchers during their habilitation.

Brigitte Schlieben-Lange Programme: for excellent young female researchers with children

With this programme the State of Baden-Württemberg wants to support female junior researchers and artists with children in their qualification for professorship, thus offering them greater planning security during their qualification phase.

Volkswagen Stiftung: Lichtenberg Professorships

"The Volkswagen Foundation combines support both for individual researchers as well as institutions via the funding initiative 'Lichtenberg Professorships'. The Lichtenberg Professorships were conceived both as a means of attracting outstanding researchers as well as helping to establish innovative academic teaching and new lines of research at German universities. The funding initiative enables grantees to plan with greater certainty, thus creating the opportunity for independent work in their own new lines of research."

Fast Track Programme of the Robert Bosch Stiftung

Fast Track is aimed at outstanding female postdocs with interdisciplinary research interests. Starting in autumn of 2015, 20 excellent female junior researchers receive individually-tailored funding for two years. The programme is expected to be announced again in January 2016.

for Families

Clearing Service Academia and Family

If a family is expecting a child, the Clearing Service offers the parent who will be taking care of the child a moderated counselling session with their head of department/institute or team leader to plan the continuation of their academic career. more

The Children's Centre

Nursery and Daycare Places

To make it easier to combine career, studies and family responsibilities, Heidelberg University has created a number of childcare offers. In addition to the crèche for the youngest, the Neuenheimer Feld campus area also features a day care centre for children up to school age and the KidsClub for children of visiting scholars. The Children's Centre provides you with information on all offers. more

Backup Service

If your regular childcare service is unavailable, the University’s Backup-Service is there to help you out! An option for urgent and unforeseeable situations to ensure flexible childcare in a swift and uncomplicated manner. more

Congress Childcare

Researchers from Germany and abroad, who have been invited by Heidelberg University to a conference or congress, can make use of a childcare offer for their children for the duration of their stay. If your faculty or institution organises an event and you are in charge of arranging childcare on site, you can direct your enquiries to the Children's Centre. more

Briefly noted

MINT-Network Conference 2016

Digital Transformation as an Opportunity: New (Leading) Roles for MINT-women? The documentation on this year's network conference "Komm, mach MINT" (about women in STEM fields).

DFG tool box

On its website the DFG offers a publicly available online information system, which gives an overview on the range of equal opportunity measures in science and research. In addition to providing impetus and inspiration for your own work, the tool box may also be used to suggest measures to be included in the database.

Equal Opportunity Monitoring

The DFG reports annually on the number and ratio of female researchers involved in applications, on their rates of success as well as on the representation of women on committees. The programmes and disciplines are thereby evaluated in a nuanced manner. Additional data collected from DFG surveys and from the Statistische Bundesamt (Federal Statistical Office) make it possible to analyse the distribution of women at different career stages and within the scientific system as a whole.

Diversity Concept

To the University, the diversity of its researchers, staff and students is challenge and potential at the same time. Having long since recognised the advantages of diversity, the University has developed initiatives to support its members and taken action to dismantle barriers resulting from difference and prejudice.

Equal Opportunity in the Joint Projects

Here are the internet presences of some joint projects on the topic of equal opportunity:

SFB 933: www.materiale-textkulturen.de/artikel.php?s=10001
SFB 873: www.cos.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/sfb873/Science_and_Family?l=_e
SFB 1118: www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/Gleichstellung.132211.0.html
TR 33: www.darkuniverse.uni-hd.de/view/Main/Genderequality

Further Reading

"Mapping Gender in the German Research Arena"

This report investigates gender gaps in research in Germany. While highlighting differences between male and female researchers in research performance and productivity and analysing the impact of gender composition of research teams, the report also offers suggestions on how to better promote women in science.

"Falling off the academic bandwagon" 

This article addresses the alarming number of female researchers leaving academic research after the postdoc phase. Based on a survey carried out among postdoctoral fellows at the NIH, the report identifies key factors that might deter female postdocs from further pursuing a career in science. It also offers suggestions on how to counteract this trend.

"Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines"

The authors of this study hypothesise that the distribution of gender gaps across academic fields is related to general attitudes about the disciplines. Stereotyped as not possessing raw, innate talent, women may be underrepresented in those disciplines, in which such aptitude is considered a key requirement for success.

"Frauen sind zu selbstkritisch" ("Women are too self-critical")

Women are harshly critical of themselves when it comes to assessing their strengths at work, concludes a study by the Internationale Hochschule Bad Honnef – Bonn (IUBH), which analysed the competencies of more than 1000 female employees in diverse roles cross-sectorally. The study thereby confirms the existence of a gender gap with regards to the self-assessment of women's job performance.

"Effectiv! Für mehr Familienfreundlichkeit an deutschen Hochschulen" (Effective! – Towards More Family-Friendliness at German Universities)

The project "Effektiv! – Für mehr Familienfreundlichkeit an deutschen Hochschulen" funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is designed to evaluate the universities' programmes with regard to their focus and sustainability. By creating an online information portal, it is the project's goal to keep universities updated on specific and sustainable directives of family-friendly measures. Organisers and facilities, but also families themselves, can benefit from the examples and suggestions.

European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs, Gender Equality (2013): The Psychology and Economics of Women in Leadership

The note is concerned with the different workplace experiences of men and women. Analysing how stereotyping and the social processes surrounding leadership appointments negatively impact women's leadership experiences and their motivation to purse or remain in such roles, the investigators also point towards ways of addressing these differences.

European Commission (2012): Annexes to the Impact Assessment on Costs and Benefits of Improving the Gender Balance in the Boards of Companies listed on Stock Exchanges

In addition to presenting the results of a stakeholder consultation on the gender imbalance on corporate boards in the EU, the annexes feature background information on board structures and board member selection processes of the Member States, as well as projections on how legislative quotas will affect female participation in company boards by 2020.

"Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership"

The authors of this article argue that the widespread metaphor of the "glass ceiling" fails to adequately reflect the challenges women meet on their way to leadership positions. In its stead, they propose the metaphor of the labyrinth: exploring the tangled ways towards leadership, the article presents some of the obstacles that women come up against and proposes remedies to improve the situation.

"How the 'glass ceiling' became such a powerful – and problematic – metaphor"

This newspaper article discusses the "glass ceiling" metaphor as well as related images (the "glass cliff", "maternal wall") frequently used to describe the challenges that women and minorities face in the workplace and assesses their validity and expressive power.

"Anforderungsanalyse für offene Positionen in der Wissenschaft" (Demands analysis for open positions in science)

The study demonstrates the benefits of demands analyses for job postings and appointments in science.

"What works for women at work"

In an online module offered by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, legal scholar Joan C. Williams discusses four patterns of gender bias that impede women's participation as well as progress at the workplace, and offers concrete strategies to overcome them.

"Transparency in Academic Recruitment: A Problematic Tool for Gender Equality?"

This article analyses the practice of transparency and accountability in academic recruitment and selection processes and assesses its impact on the promotion and enhancement of gender equality.

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