Gender Equality

Women in Photonics KSOP meeting KSOP, KIT
Women in Photonics meeting 14.03.2018 hosted by KSOP

KIT aims at achieving and maintaining equal opportunities in studies, further professional training and career development. In this context, each person shall be given the possibility to follow their individual path without any disadvantage and to find their personal balance between family, private life, social commitment and career.
Due to KIT’s focus on engineering and natural sciences, KIT – in comparison to universities covering the full scope of disciplines – reaches far smaller proportions of women among students and scientists. In the academic year 2018, the fraction of female first-year bachelor’s and master’s students was 20,2% for the five undergraduate disciplines offered by the KSOP-supporting faculties. The total number of KIT doctoral researchers was almost 3.200, whereof 27% were female and 73% male. The fraction of graduating female doctoral researchers was 23,2% females (77 out of 331 graduated doctoral researchers in total) for the five classical disciplines offered by the KSOP-supporting KIT Departments. In comparison to the average of KIT, a higher percentage of women pursues the KSOP programs. At present, in the KSOP master’s program 29% of the students are female (53 out of 182 in total). This number has been steadily increasing. With respect to the KSOP doctoral researchers the percentage of female doctoral researchers has increased from 19% in 2011 to a current percentage of 26%. This reflects significant progress.
To actively support this development we have devised a gender equality concept based on dedicated measures.

KIT Measures

  • KIT has implemented equal-opportunity actions in central services like the HoC, KHYS, YIN and in the Dual Career Service. KSOP encourages its members to make use of these offers.
  • 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.
  • To increase the number of female students, the “Forum for Recruiting Female Students” was established at KIT in 2016. Its focus lies on the STEM subjects. Together with the network “Schüler-Aktivitäten” (pupils’ activities), it fosters extensive exchange of various KIT institutions on existing and planned measures and on the joint development of recruiting strategies.
  • 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 persons).
  • 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.

KSOP Measures

  • Childcare 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. This means we can offer 5 kindergarten slots per year for KSOP members.  On top, KSOP members profit from the KIT’s four childcare facilities offering a total of 205 full-time and part-time childcare places for children aged from three months to the age of school entrance.
  • KSOP encourages women to join professional networks such as the “Women in Photonics” network of the regional photonics association Photonics BW.  
  • KSOP female scientists and alumnae contributed to the publication “Frauen in der Photonik” External Link in 2018, which shows profiles and interviews with successful women working in the Optics & Photonics academia and industry.
  • Ph.D. mentors consist of female and male postdoctoral researchers and staff scientists with mostly international background. In 2019, one of the female mentors was appointed to the KSOP Executive Board.
  • Two gender commissioners (KSOP Managing Director Dr.-Ing. Judith Elsner and KSOP Mentor Dr. Martin Lauer) assist in reconciling work and family life and act as an interface in gender related issues for the doctoral researchers to the KSOP Executive Board and to the respective gender equity officers at KIT.
  • KSOP offers a gender-related mentoring program provided by KSOP doctoral researchers for the M.Sc. students.
  • To attract women into the Ph.D. Program, scholarships have been awarded with a focus on female applicants over the last years.
  • The ‘Girls Day’ is a German nationwide initiative offering the possibility for girls and young women between 11 and 19 years old to visit companies, research institutions and universities with a focus on technology. OSKar, the student chapter of OSA and SPIE at KIT, participates every year in the Girls Day activities at KIT to introduce young female pupils to Optics & Photonics. KSOP supports these activities by providing space and information materials.
  • Read more about working & studying with children
  • Read more about pupils support
Studying with Children
Research KIT
Pupils Support

KSOP Gender Commissioners

Martin Lauer PictureKSOP, KIT
Martin Lauer
Institut für Mess-und Regelungstechnik (MRT)

martin lauer does-not-exist.kit edu