More women in top positions
Ulm University’s success in the Programme for Women Professors III

Ulm University

Ulm University is enjoying its third success in the federally and state-funded Programme for Women Professors. The programme, which was established by the Joint Science Conference (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz – GWK), aims to promote equal opportunities at the university level and increase the proportion of women among university professors. The universities selected for their policies on gender equality are eligible to receive initial funding for up to three first-appointed female professors taking on tenured W2 or W3 professorships. Ulm University’s application was successful in convincing the evaluation committee of the strength of its gender equality policy in the second selection round of the programme’s third phase.

“The proportion of women in academic fields continues to rise at a very slow pace, and, especially in the upper levels of the academic system, women are not adequately represented. It is therefore imperative that female scientists receive adequate support. The Programme for Women Professors is the key federal and state instrument to this effect”, explains the head of the Joint Science Conference (GWK), Professor Konrad Wolf, minister of science, continuing education and culture in the state of Rhineland Palatinate.

Ulm University’s application scored points with its future-oriented concept aiming to bring about sustainable cultural change at a university specialising in medical, scientific and technical fields. A key starting point is the dismantling of gender stereotypes and conditions supporting structural disadvantages. “In addition to supporting individual female scientists, which is still necessary, it is imperative that we start gradually dismantling the structural exclusion mechanisms that are still in place and raise awareness among all members and committees at the University with regard to issues of gender equality”, says Professor Biundo-Stephan. Biundo-Stephan, director of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence, is the equal opportunities officer at Ulm University. In order to ensure equal opportunities throughout the University, it is essential to create sustainable framework conditions.

“In concrete terms, this means that we must press on, steadily increasing the proportion of women at all career levels, and in management positions in particular”, says Biundo-Stephan. In Biundo-Stephan’s view, it is absolutely essential to achieve equal participation of women in all fields, as well as gender-equitable representation in all decision-making bodies.

In the “Mission Statement Gender Equality”, which was passed by the Senate in 2018, Ulm University set itself basic goals to bring about the desired cultural change. These include: the anchoring of gender equality in all university processes and at all decision-making levels; the establishment of a management culture that is sustainable, effective and sensitive to gender and opportunity issues; sustainable gender and opportunity-sensitive staff recruitment and personnel development policies and, finally, balanced gender ratios across all of the University committees.

In the two selection rounds for the third phase of the Programme for Women Professors (2018 to 2022), a total of 136 of the 182 universities submitting applications were successful. For the third phase of the programme, funds in the amount of 200 million euros are available for disbursement. At Ulm University, women currently account for 16 per cent of all professors. Ulm University has been successful in this programme with previous applications in the past: a total of four professorships for female academics were financed with the support of this programme in the last two rounds.

Text and mediacontact: Andrea Weber-Tuckermann