March 25, 2024

An innovative approach to appointing female professors

How to achieve gender parity in professorships? The University of Konstanz takes an innovative approach to managing the appointment process. Key components include having a professional equal opportunity representative as a member of each appointment committee, active recruitment, and a dedicated working group for a fair and respectful appointment process. The figures show that this approach is a success.

Gender equality is a key quality feature of the University of Konstanz’s institutional development.

This also includes the long-term goal of gender parity in professorships. In 2023, for the first time, more women than men were appointed as professors at the university. Compared to 2008 (when systematic documentation began), the percentage of female professors has doubled (from 16% to currently 32%), while the percentage of female junior professors has more than quadrupled (from 11% to currently 50%).

The University of Konstanz’s innovative management of the appointment process contributes to this success. For example, the representative of the Equal Opportunity Office responsible for coordinating equal opportunity matters in the appointment process is a voting member of every appointment committee. This is a pioneering approach in Germany. The coordinator supports the committee chair in implementing the standards for a gender-equitable, fair, and respectful appointment process. She also works with an expert professorial member of each committee and discusses subject-specific aspects with them.

In addition, the active recruitment of women is now standard for appointment processes at the University of Konstanz and it is mandatory for departments where gender parity has not yet been achieved. In 2023, the university Senate updated its guidelines for ensuring a fair and respectful appointment process (in German) accordingly. The majority of women on the university’s appointment lists are now actively recruited.

Strategies for the recruitment of women and for the transparent, fair, and respectful organisation of appointment processes are developed by a dedicated working group consisting of representatives from the Rectorate, the dean’s offices, the university administration, and the Equal Opportunity Office.

Please visit the website of the Equal Opportunity Office for more information on gender equality at the University of Konstanz.

Contact: Marion Woelki, director of the Equal Opportunity Office, University of Konstanz.

Image: Lecture at the University of Konstanz. Photocredit: © Inka Reiter / University of Konstanz

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