6. Equal Opportunities for Women and Family Support
Equality of opportunity has still not been achieved for women at the university and in research. This is in clear contrast to the constitutional requirement that women and men be treated equally. Heidelberg University is strongly committed to the active promotion of women and has documented this, in particular, in its Plan for the Promotion of Women. The objectives and interventions it contains also cover a wide range of activities in the field of young researchers, and are beginning to bear fruit.
Hitherto Heidelberg University has not made full use of the creative potential of women in the field of young scholars. True, the share of women among graduates has risen to 52 percent, and among doctoral students to 45 percent, thereby clearly exceeding the figures at the state and federal level. However, women are still sorely under-represented among habilitations and professorships. The share of woman professors at Heidelberg University is over the state average but under the federal average. Regarding the share of women completing their habilitation the University is below both the state and the federal average.
The most important causes of the under-representation of women at the university and in research are the many problems involved in trying to combine a family and an academic career. Heidelberg University will therefore make it a higher priority to improve the supply of childcare offerings suited to university members and to establish a programme to further dual-career couples. To improve the provision of childcare at the university, it intends to establish a centre for childcare with an appropriate number of crèches, day-care centres and after-school child-minding facilities. The first step, the establishing of a crèche in the Neuenheimer Feld campus, is quite advanced and about to be realised.
With the programme "Partners of Excellence" that is to be established in the context of the "Top Universities" contest, Heidelberg University would like to set up a service, hitherto unique in Germany, to look for positions for the spouses or companions of scholars who have received academic appointments. This scheme is intended to cope with the increasing problem of calls being declined due to a lack of suitable employment for the scholar's partner. The programme seeks to offer a job, financed from a central pool for a maximum of three years, to spouses or partners who themselves have an excellent academic profile. This will enable them to apply for a position themselves and set up their own research group.