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The Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality

The DFG’s Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality define personnel and structural standards for sustainable gender equality in the academic and university landscape. First adopted in 2008 and last revised in 2017, they constitute a voluntary commitment by DFG members.

The DFG members chose two new focus topics in 2020 for the current reporting cycle, for which slightly revised guidelines were available. The deadline for submitting reports on the two focus topics was 31 January 2021. Then the second workshop of the university management took place on 28 October 2021, to discuss the topics and compare notes with colleagues.

The current focus topics for the 2020-2022 reporting cycle are as follows:

1. Increase in the proportion of women in the postdoc phase

Although numerous university measures already target this early career stage, the postdoctoral phase still has the highest drop-out rate among female researchers in the vast majority of scientific disciplines. How can the science system as a whole and universities in particular effectively counter this loss of talent? Where are the specific challenges and obstacles due to internal as well as external factors? Which measures have proven effective, which would be desirable in addition and which may not have proven effective? Do certain areas of science need to be addressed in a particular way and how can this be done?

2. How universities deal with the issue of multiplicity/diversity

In addition to equal opportunities for researchers, increasing importance is attached to how other dimensions of inequality are dealt with, such as social or economic background, migration background and age, as well as disability and chronic illness. Initial research results show that where several dimensions of inequality come together, this can particularly potentiate discrimination (intersectionality). How do higher education institutions deal with these additional dimensions of inequality – among both students and academic staff? Which measures have proven successful, which less so? Is the issue of diversity embedded in university structures? What experience from the international arena, if any, has proven helpful? How do universities deal with the potential conflict between promoting gender equality on the one hand and promoting diversity on the other?

2020 DFG General Assembly Adopts Recommendations and Decides on New Focus Topics

At the DFG General Assembly on 1 July 2020, members unanimously adopted recommendations on two focus topics for the first time.

The focus topics of this first reporting round (2018-2020) were as follows:

1. Recruitment procedures for attracting female researchers
2. Relief for female researchers in connection with committee work

The recommendations were preceded by a two-year process during which the DFG member universities first submitted qualitative reports on the two priority topics to the DFG Head Office. In October 2019, a workshop was held for the university management teams to discuss the topics and compare notes with colleagues. The recommendations that have been published in 2020 are derived from the reports of the higher education institutions, the workshop dialogue and the discussions of the Working Group on Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality, which has played a support and advisory role as part of the process since 2009.

For the next reporting cycle, DFG members chose two new focus topics in 2020, for which slightly revised guidelines are available. The deadline for submitting reports on the two focus topics was 31 January 2021.

The Implementation Process for Research-Oriented Standards on Gender to Date

Under the following link you will find information on the development and implementation process of the gender equality standards, the reports submitted by the institutions and information on the evaluations carried out by the working group.


Here you can find the appropriate contacts at the DFG Head Office for various types of enquiry: