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Furtwangen University gender equality plan

Structural foundation and mission statement

Furtwangen University is committed to the values of diversity, open-mindedness and equality of chances and we are opposed to any form of discrimination. To fill these words with life, HFU colleagues take up a variety of tasks in various internal and external networks.

The Gender & Diversity office is the administrative department which coordinates central activities on equal opportunities and anti-discrimination issues. University decision-makers are briefed regularly on equality issues. The Gender & Diversity Senate Advisory Committee comprises representatives from all faculties and other relevant HFU areas. It meets each semester to work on topics, measures and ideas to strengthen the concept of equal opportunities within the university.

Furtwangen University is fully committed to make family-friendliness a part of its profile on all levels, regardless of whether this concerns professors, other staff or students. As a system-accredited university, HFU ensures through its internal control mechanisms for studying and teaching that the issues of students with (child) care duties are taken care of, at the same time observing accreditation criteria. Through its membership in the "Familie in der Hochschule" (family at university) best practice-organisation, an international network, HFU emphasises its responsibility as a place of education and life for which the compatibility of studying, working, academics and family life are of the utmost importance.


With regards to equal treatment of men and women, the Landeshochschulgesetz Baden-Württemberg (federal state of Baden-Württemberg’s university law) provides that the equal opportunity officers for academic staff and students (Gleichstellungsbeauftragte für die Belange des wissenschaftlichen Personals und der Studierenden) and the equal opportunities officer for non-academic staff (Beauftragte für Chancengleichheit für das nichtwissenschaftliche Personal) are the responsible members of staff at the university. Additionally, there are a total of seven members of staff, both male and female, available at all three campuses, who may be contacted by anyone affected by sexual harassment, stalking or mobbing. The senate has passed guidelines to promote a work environment based on trust and respect, as well as a pleasant working and studying environment and on the protection from sexual harassment, discrimination and mobbing. It has furthermore also passed process guidelines on dealing with cases of sexual harassment.

Equal opportunity goals

The equal opportunity goals set for the 2018 to 2021 period could only partially be realised. In particular, the defined goals for the positions as dean of faculty have not been reached: there is not a single woman amongst the deans. We are also significantly below the defined goals for members of the board of executives and the senate [cf. Download file:table 5]. As far as members of the university board of governors (Hochschulrat) is concerned, the parity goal has been exceeded. While the 19% share of female professors fulfils the previously set goal, we intend to implement appropriate measures to further increase this to at least 25% by the year 2026 [cf. Download file:table 1]. Similarly, we plan to increase the share of female PhD students, which is currently less than 20 %, through specific career coaching of female master students and other measures promoting equality [cf. Download file:table 7].

The 39,8% share of female students for the reporting period practically fulfils the 40% goal set in the previous Gender Equality Plan. The share of female graduate, also set at 40 % has been exceeded, it is 42 %. We were able to grow both these numbers by about 2% during the reporting period.

It should be noted however that the gender ratio continues to show a strong variation between different faculties. However, there are areas where this is beginning to change. For example, the share Faculty of Computer Sciences graduates has increased from below 8% in winter semester 2011/12 to almost 19% in winter semester 2020/21. This rise occurred as new study content was developed, as well an interdisciplinary study focus and an expressly gender-sensitive marketing and public relations campaign. [cf. Download file:table 6]

The share of women in non-academic positions is 69 %. With 55 % women in the most attractive wage brackets of the so-called höheren Dienst (higher management / wage bracket positions in German civil service), the parity we had aimed for was exceeded. The share of female employees in the middle management bracket of gehobenen Dienst is by now at 65 %. On the opposite side of the scales, women account for a much too large share of the middle lower income positions with 75%. [cf. Download file:table 4]

HFU’s implementation strategies

The existing structural and infrastructural elements promoting the reconciliation of work, academic and family life are tried and tested and could be extended to further campuses. The introduction of further such elements, a Dual-Career-Service as well as personal development and alumni work which systematically consider equal opportunities is planned.

We aim to implement suitable measures to promote equal opportunities at different education ‚mile stones‘ starting in school, during studies, doctoral studies and employment all the way up to professorship level. This includes participation in the Girls‘ Days, offering coaching and mentorship programmes for students, career advice as well as measures promoting the reconciliation of studies, academic, professional and family lives for all university members. Individual faculties will also develop a catalogue of measured specifically tailored towards their members and target audience. [cf. Download file:table 8].

For the non-academic sector, too, we make sure to implement an equal opportunities procedure as early as during the applications process and we support the reconciliation of work and family through personnel development measures which take the different life phases and their resulting requirements into account.

Including gender and diversity issues into research and teaching is something which HFU strongly supports. We are planning to explore such options by inviting faculty representation on the gender & diversity commission as well as by making the relevant parties more aware of the issues and their relevance in day-to-day research and teaching.

Respect and tolerance are integral parts of how HFU sees itself. For the future we plan to communicate this to any new university members as part of the on-boarding process and to augment this through specific training opportunities on anti-discrimination, gender and diversity issues.

Prof. Dr. Rolf Schofer, Rektor

Andrea Linke, Kanzlerin

Download file:Furtwangen University gender equality plan