KIT aims at achieving and maintaining equal opportunities for men and women in studies, further professional training and career development - depending on their personal qualification. In this context, each person shall be given the possibility to follow his or her individual path without any disadvantage and to find their personal balance between family, private life, social commitment and career.
In the winter term 2014/15 the total number of KIT students was almost 25.000, whereof 28% was female and 72% male. The fraction of female first-year university students was 61% for Biology (70 in total), 36% for Chemistry (44 in total), 18% for Physics (29 in total), 13% for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (47 in total), and 15% for Mechanical Engineering (117 in total). This corresponds to an average of 20% females (307 out of 1543 students in total) for the five undergraduate disciplines offered by the KSOP-supporting faculties. At present, in the KSOP master’s program 28% of the students are female (44 out of 160 in total). This number has increased sharply since 2007 (2007: 10%, 2008: 15.7%). With respect to the KSOP doctoral researchers almost 24% (26 out of 111 in total) are female. We believe that the more balanced ratio in the master’s program mainly reflects the international background of the applicants and clearly emphasizes a significant backlog in Germany.
To actively support this development we have devised a gender equality concept based on dedicated measures:
- KIT is implementing equal-opportunity actions in central services like the HoC, KHYS, YIN and in the Dual Career Service. KSOP will encourage its members to make use of these offers.
- On the level of young female scientists, the main objective consists in establishing science networks and conveying key qualifications. KSOP offers a gender-related mentoring program provided by KSOP doctoral researchers for the M.Sc students. Furthermore, a team of two gender commissioners, male and female, has been established in KSOP in order to assist in reconciling work and family life. The gender commissioners also act as an interface in gender related issues for the doctoral researchers to the KSOP Executive Board and the KIT.
- Women are currently underrepresented at all stages of the scientific career and the percentage of female scientists decreases with increasing career level. As a distinctive means to counter this tendency, KSOP is determined to appoint at least two out of the three junior research group leader positions requested for the 2nd funding period to female scientists.
- The KIT Dual Career Service offers comprehensive support and consultancy in the search for employment for partners of KIT employees who just moved to Karlsruhe.
- Child care and the associated work-time constraints have remained major obstacles for a career in science. Thus, since 2008, KSOP supports the KIT Childcare institution ‘Räuberkiste’ by funding a 0.5 daycare position. In addition, a day care service for older children is provided during school vacation periods. KIT is continuously expanding the day-care facilities, a total number of 110 places is foreseen (including day-care at short notice and the possibility to stay overnight for 10 children) from 2012 on.
- With the objective to cushion assumed disadvantages and financial risks for institutes and faculties hiring and employing young women, KIT offers a Compensation Pool which finances personnel assistance already prior to the parental leave. This objective allows female scientists to continue scientific work during their pregnancy (e.g. additional personnel take over laboratory work, posing specific health risks to pregnant women).
- Of course, a sound equal-opportunities policy must also aim at the integration of disabled persons. KIT already actively addresses the integration of disabled persons, e.g., with the representative body for disabled persons or the ‘Studienzentrum für Sehgeschädigte’ (Study Centre for Blind and Partially Sighted Students, SZS). In addition to the existing support of KIT, KSOP is dedicated to finding and funding individual solutions for disabled applicants wherever necessary.