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The Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality

2017 the member reaffirmed their voluntary commitment

At its 2017 General Assembly, the member institutions of the DFG reaffirmed their voluntary commitment to the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality”.

To help establish a sustainable gender equality policy at DFG member organisations, the DFG introduced its “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” in 2008. A study conducted by the DFG in 2017 once again analysed the implementation and impact of the equality standards, documenting the positive effects these have had on the German scientific and academic landscape. The reports submitted by the member institutions illustrate the positive momentum set in motion by the standards, which can be seen at almost all institutional levels. Gender equality is now seen as a strategic management task and viewed as a sign of quality. The DFG’s gender equality standards have brought about organisational and cultural changes and conditions characterised by increased equal opportunity at the member institutions.

Building on the 2017 study findings, a working group that was instituted by the General Assembly in 2009 convened to discuss and make recommendations regarding the future development of the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality”. In addition, they created an abridged version of the equality standards. The text, which reaffirms the institutions‘ voluntary commitment to the standards, was adopted by the General Assembly in 2017.

To document the slow but steady advancements in gender equality, considerations are being made that would streamline the otherwise extensive reports submitted by member institutions. In the future, members would submit qualitative reports on varying gender equality topics every two to three years. The General Assembly will be asked to decide on the design of the report at its 2018 meeting. Quantitative reporting forms, which were implemented in 2013 and sent to DFG member institutions requesting data on the proportion of women within the framework of the equality standards, will no longer be used. The institutional data are already being compiled as part of the University Statistics Act (Hochschulstatistikgesetz) and its research data set (Kerndatensatz Forschung). Note, however, that gender equality developments remain relevant for the review of coordinated programmes.

Implementation between 2013 and 2017

Based on the reports submitted by the member institutions (in 2009, 2011 and 2013), the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” working group concluded that a great deal of progress had been made with regard to gender equality at German universities. Many different measures had been implemented, gender equality was predominantly seen as a management-level task, and cooperation between centralised and decentralised levels of administration had improved.

Progress had also been made in the actual proportion of women at all academic career levels, although targets had not always been reached. The effects of the equality strategies were not always clear, which led to additional efforts being needed to reach the targets, particularly with regard to increasing the proportion of women at all academic career levels. On 3 July 2013, the General Assembly therefore adopted a package of measures aimed to set a stronger focus on monitoring statistical trends in this area.

One of these measures include an annual survey of member institutions on the proportion of women at all academic career levels. The first survey was conducted in 2014.

First Voluntary Commitment in 2008

In 2008 the DFG’s Executive Committee established a commission of experts to develop research-oriented standards on gender equality. The DFG’s General Assembly adopted the Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality. By entering into this voluntary commitment, the DFG member organisations defined structural and personnel-related standards for a sustainable equality policy in the scientific and university landscape. From 2009 to 2013, a working group set up by the General Assembly of the DFG reviewed the gender equality strategies submitted by the member organisations, facilitated the implementation of these strategies and monitored their progress.

The common goal of the gender equality standards was to significantly increase the proportion of women at all academic career levels. The so-called cascade model served as a guiding principle in this context. It sets out targets for the proportion of women at each career level based on the proportion of women at the next lower level.


Freely accessible online information system that presents examples illustrating the possible breadth of gender equality measures in research and teaching in keeping with the DFG's Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality.

Externer Link- Go to the Toolbox
Interner Link- Further Information

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