Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality

The German Research Foundation (DFG) sees the promotion of equal opportunities of junior scientists as an essential part of their work. For this reason, the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” were passed by the DFG in 2008. Therein, the members of the DFG verbalized staff- and structure-related standards regarding sustainable gender equality politics within the realm of science and tertiary education.

The significant increase of the percentage of women through all scientific career stages is verbalized by the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” as an equal goal. In achieving this goal, the main principle is the so-called cascade model. Following this model, certain goals regarding the percentage of women of each career stage are ensued as a result of the given underlying level of qualification.

Within the framework of agreements regarding the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” all the DFGs members committed to (1) take a stand on these standards and especially (2) formulate goals towards raising the percentage of women. In 2009, the University of Paderborn took an active part in the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” by issuing an official statement. Within this statement, the University reported about implemented measures working to enforce gender equality in science. Particularly, it stated additional future measures with respect to promoting female junior scientists. The report also states specific measures implemented to increasing the percentage of women within the doctoral degrees. The interim report as well as the final report regarding the stage of implementation were issued in 2011 and 2013.

The University’s Equal Opportunity Concept, which the University published in the context of the DFG’s “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” was unanimously judged to be the highest valuation level – state 4 (“commendable”). Paderborn University’s interim report (2011) as well as the final report (2013) were rated to be the highest valuation level. Therefore, the DFG certified that since 2009 Paderborn University was successful in establishing and pursuing a concept of promoting gender equality that is being amended by innovative approaches.

Paderborn University’s part taking in the DFG’s “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” was a highly important step towards achieving equal opportunities within the scientific sector. The increased presence of this topic throughout the University, especially by the discussion as well as the resulting measures the University’s statement could induce, was of utmost significance. All measures that were formulated within that statement could be re-formulated within that reference period and all involved objectives could be reached. The percentage of the entirety of the University’s female professors (incl. female junior professors) could be increased from 23.4% (01/2008) to 29.2% (01/2012). The initially verbalized goal of increasing female doctoral students of five percentage points were exceeded by afar and raised by twice as much (25.2% in 2008 to 35.6% in 2012). Moreover, the percentage of women among the non-professorial teaching staff was raised by more than ten percentage points from 24.3% (01/2008) to 35.1% (01/2012).    

While partaking in the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” all member-Universities were asked to submit reports regarding the implementation of their equal opportunity measures. Each of those three reports had to be issued following a report cycle. A special DFG working group was appointed to evaluate those reports.

Paderborn University took part in all three reporting cycles. All of the three reports that were issued by the University were awarded the highest valuation level – state 4 (“commendable”). Therefore, the DFG certified that Paderborn University was highly successful in establishing and pursuing a concept of promoting gender equality which even includes innovative approaches.

On the 3rd of July 2013, the DFG’s General Assembly adopted a package of measures which more strongly focusses on the numerical development of the percentage of women. Further efforts will especially focus on the career levels revolving around the postdoc-phase up to the appointment procedures for university professors, because those phases are seen to be of vital significance. Included within this package of measures are annual queries with each member University that regard the percentage of women on all career levels. Those queries were first realized in 2014.    

In 2018, the General Assembly of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) decided on a qualitative reporting requirement. The aim of qualitative reporting is to establish an open exchange of experience between the member institutions on the respective priority topics chosen by them. The inclusion of successful and less successful practical examples including their framework conditions - based on the idea of collegial learning from each other - is considered particularly useful. The selected priority topics are intended to encourage the member institutions to (self-)reflection and support their organisational development. One one-day workshop organised by the DFG will be held per reporting cycle, which is addressed to the university management.

For the first reporting round, Paderborn University has prepared reports on the priority topics "Relief of female researchers for committee work" and "Recruitment procedures for attracting female researchers" as of 31 January 2019.

Complete interim report (only available in German)

Final report for download (only available in German)

The DFG uses the toolbox to inform about measures regarding the increase of the percentage of women in the scientific field.
Detailed information regarding the toolbox

audit family-friendly…

On 22 November 2005, Paderborn University was the first university in NRW to be awarded the designation of “family-friendly university”.


Paderborn University has received the TOTAL E-QUALITY Award for their equality-oriented Human Resources policies.