HRK concerned about stagnation in equal opportunities for women in science and academia

22. November 2022

The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) notes with great concern that progress in the appropriate consideration of women at academic career levels is still too slow, despite numerous funding measures and initiatives. The 26th report of the Joint Science Conference (GWK), which was recently published, states that the latest data update on equal opportunities shows that the percentage of female scientists at universities and non-university research institutions has once again increased compared to previous years, but has de facto stagnated at the higher career levels. 

"Gender equality remains an urgent task on the higher education agenda. The current figures show that with a share of only 26.3% of all professorships in Germany, women continue to be inadequately represented in science and academia," explained HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt just now in Berlin. "The progress made to date is too slow by far. This was also the consensus of the recent HRK General Assembly and is clearly expressed in its statement published today. Neither the so-called cascade model nor voluntary mentoring and coaching offers have been able to profoundly change the gender ratio at higher career levels in science and academia. To improve the situation here in the long term, we need to be more creative and pick up the pace significantly."

In the opinion of the HRK General Assembly, promoting equal opportunities for women in science and academia is about a comprehensive cultural change. This would have to be supported by structural change, including corresponding procedural changes in qualification and staff recruitment both at the individual institutions and in the system as a whole. The HRK Vice-President responsible, Prof Dr Dorit Schumann, reiterates this demand: "The GWK's programme for female professors is an example of how significant success can be achieved with structural measures. If an appropriate gender representation is to be achieved, every second professorship must be occupied by a woman in the medium and long term. But this will only happen if we involve all stakeholders and join forces to bring about the necessary fundamental changes."

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