30 Years Equal Opportunity

Some Words from Our Equal Opportunity Commissioners – Past and Present



Erika Feucht, Egyptology

During my time in office, it has been my priority to develop guidelines for supporting female academics at Heidelberg University. This has been a joint effort of the Women's Repre­sen­ta­tives at the faculties and the Women's Representatives of Universities in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Apart from the Senate of Heidelberg University passing these guidelines, the creation of stipends to support women has been an important achievement, too.


Gabriele Pfitzer, Medicine

It has been very important to me to support the work of the Equal Opportunity Commis­sion­ers at the University. At the same time, it has been imperative to make academic achieve­ments of women visible on all levels, to dismantle career obstacles and to improve the professional situation of female postdocs. Increasing the number of female professors has been of overriding importance. A look ahead: Although Heidelberg University, together with its Equal Opportunity Commissioners, has been working successfully towards facilitating the compatibility of family and career, it still takes new and creative ideas to ensure that young, gifted female researchers after completing their PhD continue to enjoy working in research and want to pursue an academic career.




Traute Schröder-Kurth, Medicine

For thirty years, efforts have been made at our University to empower women, to affirm their equality – and to remind men that equal oppor­tu­ni­ty applies to the academic world as well! If such a reminder was not necessary, the position of Equal Opportunity Commissioner would no longer exist!


Margret Schuchard, English

It has been, and continues to be, of the utmost importance to make women's academic achievements visible and to strengthen them in their respective fields. This has been accom­plished in form of a new book series, the Heidelberger Frauenstudien, conferences, exhibitions and stipends for women with families. In order to pursue this effort in a continuous fashion, it was necessary to incorporate women's advancement in the constitution of Heidelberg University and to create a permanent position for managing the office of the Equal Opportunity Commissioner.




Annette Kämmerer, Psychology

As the Women's Representative of Heidelberg University, three things were particularly important to me: Firstly, to establish the position of Women's Representative in the institutions as well as in the University's self-concept. This has not been a trivial task, since for the university bodies it was not self-evident that women's equality be defined as a veritable duty of the University. Secondly, to make the academic work of women visible within the University by means of, for example, Frauentage, in the framework of which women could present their academic achievements. Thirdly, to advise and (financially) support female researchers at Heidelberg University in order to promote their professional development.


Dominique Lattard, Mineralogy

During my time as Women's Representative / Equal Opportunity Commissioner (2003-2005), the most urgent matter was to improve the compatibility of academic career and private life using a range of targeted measures. Back then, the "Children's Centre" was established and first steps were taken towards the development of a "Dual Career Service." Today more than ever, most young researchers – and female researchers particularly – would like flat organizational structures and more diversity as well as flexibility in career paths at universities.




Silke Leopold, Musicology

The noblest task of a Women's Representative would be to render herself redundant. After thirty years, this task has not been accomplished, although universities right up to the bastion of professorships have become more "female", a development that once seemed incon­cei­v­able. Hopefully, it won't be another thirty years before we, indeed, no longer require Equal Opportunity Commissioners.


Annemarie Pucci, Physics

I want to work towards making female professors a common sight – in the natural sciences, too. This is how I put it in the report of the Equal Opportunity Commissioner to the Senate in 2000. Today I can say that it almost came true, although it required help.




Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Chinese Studies

I wanted to contribute to women at Heidelberg University being treated fairly and feeling appreciated commensurate with their qualifications. What still needs to be done? In a lot of academic disciplines women have a good chance of building an academic career under fair conditions and in recognition of their achievements – unfortunately, this is not the case for all subjects. Particularly in the natural scien­ces more efforts need to be made to create a working environment that encourages wo­men to pursue an academic career in these fields. Preparing women for leadership positions is another necessary step that needs to be taken.


Jadranka Gvozdanovic, Slavic Studies

Academia needs female and male talents equally!




Katja Patzel-Mattern, Economic and Social History

The goal is to create equal opportunities and chances by reflecting on needs and requirements, thereby strengthening Heidelberg University‘s reputation as an attractive employer and innovative research site. Achieving this goal requires further structural changes, conduct that is geared towards gender equality and equal opportunity, as well as individual support – an effort that concerns all of us.



We also remember the first Women's Representatives of the University, Professor Christine Heyn (Medicine) and Professor Dorothea Sich (Medicine), who established the position of Women's Representative at the University.

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Latest Revision: 2023-07-27
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