Impetus for Europe – equality-oriented structures and diversity in research

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is organizing a high-level conference entitled “Impetus for Europe – equality-oriented structures and diversity in research” as part of the German Council Presidency.

The conference took place in Hamburg, Germany, on 11-12 November 2020.

The aim of the event is to present future-oriented approaches for improving equal opportunities in the research system, to discuss these with representatives of the Member States as well as third countries and to develop them further for the European Research Area.

The purpose is to give vital impetus for structural gender equality and diversity in the European Research Area. The keynote speakers and participants in panel debates and forums discussed suitable strategies and visions for enshrining equal opportunities in organisational structures and strengthening the integration of gender aspects in research throughout Europe.

Programme overview

Due to current contact restrictions, the conference was held in a digital format.

From early December, all programme items will be available online as separate videos. Programme details and the first videos are provided in the following:


  • Dr Michael Meister
    Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research
  • Maria-Luisa Cabral
    Skills and Social Adviser in Commission President von der Leyen’s team 
  • Katharina Fegebank
    Second Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Laudatory speech

  • 20th anniversary of the CEWS Centre of Excellence Women and Science at the GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
    Professor Matthias Kleiner
    President of the Leibniz Association

CEWS - 20 years


CEWS - 20 years of research, consulting, networking and scientific service

In the 20 years of its existence, the Center of Excellence Women and Science CEWS has evolved into a competence center for gender equality in science and research. CEWS aims to promote the implementation of gender equality in science and research in Germany. CEWS supports evidence-based learning about inequalities and gender equality policies in academia – to make research gender-sensitive, non-discriminatory and respectful, especially for women. CEWS focuses on dismantling hierarchies and privileges created by structural, social, sexist and racial discrimination, with a focus on gender. CEWS’ unique selling point is the coherent integration of research, consulting, networking and scientific service. For its target groups, CEWS builds a bridge between research and practice. Its scope of action is international.

CEWS contributes to improving the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of gender equality policies and measures in science and research at the political and organizational level as well as at the level of knowledge production. CEWS' research and user-friendly scientific services are grounded in the consideration of gender diversity and diverse realities of life. This includes various dimensions of inequalities in the sense of intercategorial perspectives, taking gender relations as a starting point.

The CEWS portfolio includes a variety of research-based offerings. In total, the CEWS has acquired and completed 42 third-party funded projects over the course of 20 years, and is currently working on five other projects, both at national and European level. Detailed project descriptions and documentation can be found in the project archive.

One focus is the evaluation of gender equality policies, measures and programs. In addition, the CEWS advises scientific institutions, organizations and gender equality agents, maintains (inter)national partnerships and networks and promotes dialogue between science and practice through the use of interactive formats, lecture series and expert scientific presentations. With the national university ranking according to gender equality aspects and the retrospective progression analyses of career pathways, CEWS developed original monitoring instruments.

By providing expert support for gender equality policy at national and European level, CEWS examines the ways in which gender equality policy initiatives contribute to greater gender equality in science. Nationally and internationally, the CEWS has strengthened its national and European networking with scientific organizations and bodies involved in federal, state and European policy-making, as well as with research institutions, professional associations and infrastructures in gender, higher education and evaluation research, in order to contribute to a constructive exchange between researchers, practitioners and politicians.

CEWS' international orientation is illustrated by its work in the European statistics expert group “Statistical Correspondents”, its involvement in a Europe-wide network of national "Gender & Science" centers, and its membership in the International Research Association of Institutions of Advanced Gender Studies RINGS.

The comprehensive web-based services portfolio ranges from the electronic CEWSjournal with nearly 4,500 subscribers, topical pages with structured information such as "Gender Bias in Science and Research" or "Gender-based and Sexualized Violence in Higher Education" to the specialized databases (e.g. literature, statistics and equality law) and the CEWS portal.

All activities related to CEWS’ 20th anniversary, such as publications, an interview and the planned conference for 2021 can be found on the anniversary website in the CEWS portal.


Keynotes and introductory talks

  • Ample and equal opportunity? Gender equality as a constitutional task
    Professor Maria Wersig
    President of the German Women Lawyers Association
  • Women in leadership positions in research: empirical insights and practical recommendations
    Professor Claudia Peus
    Technical University of Munich
  • The impact of sex and gender on research excellence
    Professor Sabine Oertelt-Prigione
    Radboud University Nijmegen
  • One Voice Does Not Fit All: on the diversity of evidence-based science communication in the coronavirus pandemic
    Professor Marylyn M. Addo
    University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

International panel debates

  • Equality-oriented structures in European academia
    Professor Tanja Paulitz
    Director of the Institute of Sociology, Technical University of Darmstadt
    Professor Susanne Menzel-Riedl
    President of Osnabrück University
    Professor Roland Fischer
    Vice President of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
    Evelyn Regner
    Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)
    Dr Fredrik Bondestam
    Director of the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, University of Gothenburg
  • European/international prospects and challenges regarding the structural integration of gender and diversity issues in research
    Professor Carmen Leicht-Scholten
    Head of GDI - Gender und Diversity in Engineering, RWTH Aachen University
    Guest professor Sabine Ludwig
    University of Applied Health Sciences Bochum and Head of Women in Global Health Germany,
    Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
    Mina Stareva 
    Head of Sector – Gender, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
    Barbara Limanowska
    Coordinator of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)
    Karine Morin
    Director of Policy and Interagency Affairs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Canada

Round table

  • On the way to the top: female careers at universities and research institutions
    Women report on their successful careers in science and research
    Moderators: Vincent-Immanuel Herr and Martin Speer

    Professor Julia Arlinghaus
    Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF), Magdeburg
    Professor Pascale Ehrenfreund
    Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Professor Claudia Vorst
    President of the University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd
    Dr. Agnese Loda
    European Molecular and Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg; laureate of the 2019 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award “For Women in Science”
    Dr. Cristina Palencia Ramírez
    Centre for Ultrafast Imaging at Hamburg University; laureate of the 2019 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award “For Women in Science”

Digital presentation of practice examples

  • Presentation of good practice examples from Germany regarding equal opportunities in the research system


Besprechung © Getty Images / pixelfit

BMBF funding line “Women in science, research and innovation: making achievements and potentials visible, anchoring visibility structurally (Focusing on innovative women)”

In order to make the scientific achievements and innovative ideas of women more visible, the BMBF launched the funding line “Women in science, research and innovation: making achievements and potentials visible, anchoring visibility structurally” (Focusing on innovative women)”. Researchers and knowledge-imparting institutions are encouraged to develop sustainable strategies that increase the visibility of women in science, research and innovation. Further, the aim is to anchor these strategies structurally in organizations and to convey them to the (professional) public.


Logo: bukof
Logo: bukof © BMBF

Bundeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten an Hochschulen (bukof)

The Bundeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten an Hochschulen (bukof) is the voice of gender politics in the discourse of academia and science. The bukof connects everyone working towards gender equality in German academia. This year, we campaigned under the hashtag #FairnetztEuch for fair working conditions in secretariats in universities. Next to extensive social media activities, we published a paper demanding fair payment and good working conditions for secretaries in institutions of higher education. Eighteen NGOs and organizations of gender politics and science policy support our demands and signed the paper. We are planning a follow-up with recommendations of action at the beginning of 2021.

National Council of German Women´s Organizations

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Logo Deutscher Frauenrat © Deutscher Frauenrat

Ensuring equal participation of women in research and science and gender-sensitive research in all scientific fields

As the umbrella association for 60 women’s organizations active throughout Germany, the Deutscher Frauenrat (DF – National Council of German Women’s Organizations) is the largest lobby for gender equality in the country. Therefore, the DF is also committed to unrestricted access for women to all areas of science through a binding gender quota of at least 30 percent for all decision-making positions, through parity in committees that decide on funding and through public procurement and the allocation of grants to at least 40 percent women. Furthermore, the category of gender must be systematically taken into account in research.

German Research Foundation (DFG)

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German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG)

Excellent science needs diversity and originality. For this reason, the DFG offers a range of measures across all its funding programmes to promote equal opportunities and diversity in research. In addition, the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” define personnel and structural standards for sustainable gender equality in the academic and university landscape. The DFG also promotes reflection on gender and diversity at the preparation stage of research projects in accordance with good scientific practice.

For further details, see:

Digital German Women's Archive (DDF)

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Digital German Women's Archive (Digitales Deutsches Frauenarchiv - DDF)

The Digital German Women's Archive (DDF) consolidates the knowledge pertaining to the German-speaking women's movements. It presents materials from 33 feminist heritage institutions from 5 EU states, which are affiliated to the i.d.a. umbrella organisation. The joint META catalogue is innovative: specialist literature, historical documents and inventory data are digitally accessible for education and science. With this unique resource, i.d.a. strengthens gender and equal opportunities in research and European diversity. At present, DDF/META are the precursors to a pan-European network.

EAF Berlin

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EAF Berlin. Diversity in Leadership

EAF Berlin advises organizations in science, business and politics on equal opportunities and diversity. It has designed various programs for the promotion of excellence and has been running the Sign Up Careerbuilding for Women Postdocs in the Max Planck Society program for ten years and the Helmholtz Advance mentoring program for two years. EAF Berlin conducted a comprehensive gender analysis for the European Human Brain Project. Together with the Technische Universität Berlin, EAF Berlin maintains Femtec, a network of companies and universities for the promotion of women in MINT.

European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS

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European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS

The European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS is an international network of associations of women scientists and organisations committed to gender equality and the integration of the gender dimension in research and innovation. Its administrative seat is in Brussels. As a strategic instrument in EU research policy, EPWS represents the voice of women scientists of all disciplines and at all stages of their career paths at European level, giving women researchers a voice in European research policy. The Platform acts as a structural link between women scientists and EU research policy makers.

Gender Studies Association

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Logo FG © FG

Gender Studies Association

In order to be able to reveal and describe structures that are conducive to equal opportunities in all areas of society and thus also in research, it is necessary to analyze gender issues and relationships in detail. The central concerns of the Gender Studies Association are (1) to further develop gender studies as a perspective in all disciplines and as an independent field of research, (2) to make the results more visible, and (3) to contribute to gender justice in science and society. In this way, our society ultimately promotes interdisciplinary exchange and networking.

FiF: Women into EU Research

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Logo FiF © BMBF

Women into EU Research (FiF)

FiF stands for “Frauen in die EU-Forschung” – Women into EU Research. This contact point is part of the German advisory network on the EU’s respective Research Framework Programme (currently Horizon 2020, shortly Horizon Europe). FiF offers advice on gender and equal opportunities in European research. Through talks, workshops and other offers, FiF contributes to enlarging the share of women scientists in research and development. The contact point celebrates 20 years of existence: It was established in 2001 by the responsible unit within the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

BMBF Project FührMINT Gender Decoder

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Logo Gender Decoder © Gender Decoder

BMBF project “FührMINT: Success factors for women in academic STEM fields” (FKZ 01FP1602)

FührMINT Gender Decoder: How to check your job postings for gender-fair language

Research shows that job advertisements in male-dominated work contexts tend to contain mostly agentic (stereotypically male) and only few communal (stereotypically female) words. This strongly male-connoted wording can reduce the perceived attractiveness of the job opportunity for women as well as women’s intention to apply. The FührMINT Gender Decoder checks for gender-fair wording in job advertisements, i.e., whether job advertisements contain a balanced proportion of agentic and communal words, in order to be equally appealing for women and men.


Gaucher, D., Friesen, J., & Kay, A. C. (2011). Evidence that gendered wording in job advertisements exists and sustains gender inequality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 109-128. doi:10.1037/a0022530.

Hentschel, T., Braun, S., Peus, C., & Frey, D. (in press). Sounds Like a Fit! Wording in Recruitment Advertisements and Recruiter Gender Affect Women’s Pursuit of Career Development Programs via Anticipated Belongingness. Human Resource Management.

Gender Economics research group

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Gender Economics research group at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

The Gender Economics research group at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) analyzes gender gaps on the labor market, in particular the gender pay gap and the underrepresentation of women in top-leadership positions in the corporate sector. Moreover, the group works on several research projects on the evaluation of social policy, family policy and tax policy with respect to its implications on women’s employment prospects and women’s wages.

BMBF Joint Project Gendering MINT digital

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BMBF joint project "Gendering MINT digital. Actively shaping Open Science“ (FKZ 01FP1721, 01FP1722, 01FP1723)

The project aim is to present the findings of gender research in STEM in an application-oriented manner and to prepare them for open science modules using didactic concepts and participatory and collaborative electronic tools. The modules will be made openly accessible to the public via a repository to provide an innovative basis for discussion and reflection impulses in research, teaching, and gender equality work in the STEM area and at its interdisciplinary interfaces.

BMBF Project GenderMedDB

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Logo GenderMed © GenderMed

BMBF project „GenderMed Database - Scientific Publications (GenderMedDB)“ (FKZ 01FW1201)

The database GenderMedDB provides publications that deal with both biological and socio-cultural sex and gender differences in medicine to interested parties for their individual searches. An automated search in PubMed refreshes the GenderMedDB weekly.

GenderMedDB has been developed by the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine (GiM) (Prof. Dr. Regitz-Zagrosek) and the Structural Bioinformatics Group (SBG) (Prof. Dr. Preissner) at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is supported by the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK).

DFG Project GenderOpen

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Logo Gender Open Repositorium © Gender Open Repositorium

DFG Project “GenderOpen – A Repository for Gender Research”

With GenderOpen, the DFG funded the establishment of the world's first repository of gender research in 2016-2019. Current as well as older publications are collected and made permanently and freely accessible via open access. GenderOpen supports the modernization of publishing with information on secondary publication law and uses the latest legal and technical standards. Gender research is currently undergoing a strong social validation process. GenderOpen strengthens gender research by opening up to the outside world and making its results more visible.

Network of EU-funded gender projects in Germany

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Network of EU-funded gender projects in Germany

The network of EU-funded gender projects in Germany sees itself as an independent discussion forum for the subject area of European gender equality policy and its practical implementation in academia. In this sense it represents a community of practice. Guided by the appreciation of international and transdisciplinary work, the network focuses on collaborative aspects in highly competitive contexts such as that of European research funding.

Participating projects:

  • ACTonGender - Promoting Communities of Practice to advance knowledge, collaborative learning and institutional change on gender equality in the European Research Area
  • Baltic Gender - Baltic Consortium on Promoting Gender Equality in Marine Research Organisations 
  • CHANGE - CHAlleNging Gender (In)Equality in science and research
  • EFFORTI - Evaluation Framework for Promoting Gender Equality in R&I
  • EQUAL4EUROPE - Gender Equality Plans for Social Sciences, Business & Management schools
  • GEECCO - Gender Equality in Engineering through Communication and Commitment
  • GENDERACTION - GENDer equality in the ERA Community To Innovate policy implementatiON. Coordination and Support Action
  • GENERA Network - Gender Equality Network in Physics in the European Research Area
  • GRANteD - GRant AllocatioN Disparities from a gender perspective
  • LeTSGEPs - Leading Towards Sustainable Gender Equality Plans in research institutions
  • SPEAR - Supporting and Implementing Plans for Gender Equality in Academia and Research
  • TInnGO – Transport Innovation Gender Observatory

BMBF Joint Project GEWINN

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Logo Gewinn © Gewinn

BMBF joint project: “Gender. Knowledge. Computer Science. Network on Research Transfer of interdisciplinary knowledge on Gender and Computer Science (GEWINN)” (FKZ 01FP1603, 01FP1604 und 01FP1605)

The project GEWINN aimed to connect research on gender and IT to the workplace, thus easing the path of female young professionals to leading positions. Research was conducted via six living labs in a real-world setting in IT companies. Five symposia offered exchange between researchers and practitioners, an international conference scientific exchange. The GEWINN online platform provided information on the overall project. GEWINN resulted in numerous scientific publications and published “Best Practice” as well as “Recommendations for Action” for daily use in IT-companies.


Logo Nationaler Pakt für Frauen in MINT-Berufen
Logo Nationaler Pakt für Frauen in MINT-Berufen © Nationaler Pakt für Frauen in MINT-Berufen

"Go MINT" - National Pact for Women in MINT careers

"Go MINT" - National Pact for Women in MINT careers ties together the expertise of politics, businesses, science, social partners and the media in order to present a modern image of STEM professions in society. "Go MINT" was launched in 2008 on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the aim of getting young women interested in scientific and technical study courses and attracting female university graduates to careers in business and science.


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MUGI „Music and Gender Research on the Internet“ at the Hamburg University of Music and Drama

Since going online in 2004, the internet portal provides open access to musicological research results from a gender-theoretical perspective. Consisting predominantly of original research, the platform has enabled the biographies of female musicians to become more visible in the field of music historiography and to the general public. MUGI is now regarded as indispensable for the creation of concert programs, for archives and libraries, researchers, students and journalists. Since 2003, the portal has been developed at the Hamburg University of Music and Drama under the direction of Beatrix Borchard with Nina Noeske as co-editor since 2015.

Pro Exzellenzia 4.0

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Pro Exzellenzia 4.0 – Hamburgs Karriere-Kompetenzzentrum für Frauen

Pro Exzellenzia 4.0 is a flagship project in Germany aiming towards more women in leadership positions. The project team was awarded the Chefsache-Award 2016 (patron Angela Merkel) for its innovative concept. With a special mix of measures that includes scholarships, workshop and webinar programs, qualification for migrant women, lecture and cooperation events, as well as application counseling, the cross-university program specifically addresses the needs of female university graduates.

BMBF Project StaRQ


BMBF-Project “Standards, Guidelines and Quality Assurance for Gender Equality in Academia” (FKZ 01FP1901)

The StaRQ project has two objectives. The development of general and specific quality standards and guidelines for measures to promote gender equality in academia and the provision of different (virtual) platforms for ongoing exchange between experts with regards to the quality assurance of gender equality measures. An online portal provides search tools and information on the topic of quality assurance of gender equality measures and serves as a virtual platform to promote exchange and networking. A central element is the database INKA, which provides quality-checked equality measures.

Information film

  • The Women Professors Programme of the Federal Government and the Länder – a success story