ct.qmat is highly committed to equal opportunity and diversity, striving for inclusive excellence by promoting a research and teaching environment that supports careers regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual identity, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability or health condition, or age.
ct.qmat’s basic principles of equality are laid down in the Joint Würzburg-Dresden gender equality and diversity commitment which was worked out on the basis of the policies and procedures followed by the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Technische Universität Dresden, and on the DFG’s appropriate recommendations. The both universities’ plans of action we draw on – JMU’s gender equality plan (2015 – 2020) and TUD’s diversity strategy 2030, including an updated equal opportunity concept 2014 – were geared towards attracting, recruiting and developing the best talents for the advancement of their strategic research areas.
Our equality measures
In line with its founding universities, the Cluster of Excellence works towards gender equality using a comprehensive, continuously extended set of measures in order to encourage females to pursue an academic career.
However, we are also aware of the fact that it requires a broad spectrum of sustainable measures to spark the interest in physics among younger school students first and to attract prospective students in particular girls to studying physics. Once recruited to physics studies, the next important issue is to keep young women motivated to stick to a physics career path. Which is why our package of measures ranges from those aimed at attracting more girls to physics, fostering career development of women in academia, facilitating the return to work from parental leave, creating family friendly conditions for an academic career, and finally to raising awareness of unconscious bias.
Attracting prospective students
ct.qmat seeks to make an important contribution to long-term recruitment to science in general and physics in particular. Our efforts target girls in different age groups, starting at the early high school level and even earlier. As a matter of course, most high school students do not wait until their final year of high school to decide on their preferred study program. By that time, they might have developed a lively interest in a specific discipline or field of study. Research shows that positive role models who come from diverse backgrounds, represent various academic levels, have children and enjoy a broad range of interests beyond their profession promote a favorable image of physics. It is also obvious that well-trained, motivated, and staying up-to-date with new scientific advances teachers are essential for sparking interest in the field among their students. Last but not least, meaningfulness and relevance of the content and tasks to the students’ everyday life as well as an opportunity for practical work might play an important role in encouraging girls (and boys) to study physics.
Considering all these aspects we tailored different measuresdirected at
- increasing the interest and involvement of girls in science in general and in physics in particular during their early years of high school;
- enhancing the image of physics as a profession and providing advice about physics-related careers;
- providing young girls with role models – real female scientist showing that (and how) it is possible to balance family and a demanding and at the same time rewarding physics career thus challenging stereotypes;
- keeping teachers up-to-date by compiling teaching materials to be used in classroom and giving comprehensible lectures on the cutting-edge research:
- creating opportunities for practical work linked to high school students’ world of experience, e. g. by drawing on phenomena known from their own everyday life or by adapting information and communication technologies so popular among young generations:
- Mobile game Kitty Q
- annual Girls’Day action program
- events within the Girls’Day Academy
It is a major issue to ct.qmat to foster girls’ self-confidence in their capabilities and to make physics accessible and engaging to them as well as providing them with an opportunity to test their knowledge and ability without pressure to perform and in an unbiased atmosphere.
In order to enhance women’s academic career opportunities and thus to increase the proportion of women at all academic career levels, ct.qmat provides financial support to the female researchers for taking part in mentoring programs, soft skills, leadership, and coaching courses and workshops. The acquired qualifications might be helpful for a leadership position in academia and for applying for a professorship.
For an overview of the internal activities please click here.
[Link zur Unterseite mit vergangenen und zukünftigen Veranstaltungen (BeWISE Webinar & Präsenz, International Day of Women in Science, Kamingespräche].
A special activity of ct.qmat to foster gender equity is a promoting of professional networking opportunities for women through the Grete Hermann Network with its colloquium series.
Keep in touch
“Keep in touch” is a structured contact keeping and re-entry program which is aimed at supporting researchers during their family starting period. With this project, ct.qmat means to support and relieve female and male researchers during their parental leave or while shouldering other family responsibilities, to intercept women’s fall out of scientific and academic careers after having a baby, and finally to create a structure of reliability, plannability, inclusion possibilities, and advice.
The program is currently being developed.
Compatibility of family and academic career
For their significant achievements in making studying and working conditions suitable for families, both universities have been certified as family-friendly universities – TUD since 2007 and JMU since 2008.
ct.qmat addresses in particular childcare needs of its employees with children. The following childcare schemes have proved their worth:
- Flexible childcare: ct.qmat contributes to the flexible childcare program at TUDwhich enables those employed at TUD to make use of the service if they need
- childcare beyond the opening hours of their regular childcare facility
- childcare during a conference or other academic events
- childcare while being on a business trip
- childcare during any other unusual situation
- a drop-off and/or pick-up assistance
- Babysitter: We can also bear the expenses for a babysitter/ nurse of your choice if you are not employed at TUD.
- Equipment for remote work: To make it easier for you to successfully combine your scientific career and taking on home-based caring responsibilities (e. g. taking care of your children up to age of twelve), we can equip you with a laptop and necessary accessories for working from home.
Gender sensitivity and anti-bias training
Gender bias in academia has the potential to create barriers for female researchers, both with and without children. Such behaviors negatively affect women’s careers and thus the competitive edge and reputation for scientific excellence of the cluster. Therefore, we intend to offer activities such as workshops, trainings and talks to raise awareness of unconscious gender bias and to work against gender stereotypes in academia.
Dr. Alina Markova
Equal Opportunity Coordinator