Women make up the majority of students at medical and life science departments throughout Germany. While the percentage of women is very high during their studies, it already decreases significantly at the doctoral and postdoctoral career levels, culminating negatively at the level of professorship. This phenomenon, the drop in proportion of women at an advanced career stage towards executive/management positions, is called the leaky pipeline.
The DFG is strongly committed to equal opportunities and equal treatment of female and male scientists in the German science system. Therefore, a balanced gender ratio in the science system and the compatibility of family and academic career are important. Our Clinical Research Unit 326 'Male Germ Cells' not only focusses on high quality research and finding novel causes for male infertility, but in parallel aims to improve gender equality standards in the field of biomedicine. By implementing manifold measures, we hope to achieve equal opportunities at each step of one's individual scientific career; and all CRU members and associated colleagues should receive the necessary support to fullfill their very best self. With this, we also strive to close the gap of losing greatly qualified women at higher career levels. Besides, we are convinced that equal opportunities apply not remain exclusively to women. Rather, we adress numerous efforts at fathers and young male or diverse/non-binary researchers.
Explore all of our measures in more detail on the following sites!
A model project called 'Leadership Journey' initiated by our CRU326 and the Medical Faculty Münster in early 2021, aimed to support the career development, strengthen the networking abilities, and promote the establishment of an individual leadership style of female scientists to prevent losing such qualified women in higher career positions. This fosters the qualification of a new generation of female academic leaders in biomedical research!
After the nine-month journey of the CRU326 pilot cohort, the last workshop took place on October 2021 – but this will not be the end of it! "Personally, I can only recommend this programme. Everybody who is willing to reflect, to dive into the strengths and improvable areas of herself should attend such a programme. I believe it helps everyone – no matter in what position", said Dr. Cristin Beumer after her participation. "Besides, we enjoyed and established such a great group spirit that we've decided to continue our networking journey on a monthly basis!" Leadership coach Annie Bordeleau will support this effort with additional regular coaching sessions and financial support is provided by the equal opportunity budget of CRU236.
And what about the programme itself? Greatly, it was implemented within the Medical Faculty's equal opportunities programme for female scientists!
Accordingly, in March 2022, a second cohort started – for the first time open to all female members of the University of Münster and associated research centres, institutions, and units. The programme starts with comprehensive personal feedback in the form of the Leadership Circle Profile as well as individual coachings, followed by five interactive workshops with the group. Margot Wyrwoll and Bettina Scheffer from CRU326 successfully applied. Congratulations! Meanwhile, the third cohort has kicked off, including ReproMS PI Julia Wallmeier from the Department of Paediatrics.
In a joint effort, local Research Units, the Equal Opportunity Office, and the Dean of Münster's Medical Faculty have made an important step towards supporting career development of female scientists by founding the 'Women-in-Science Network Medicine' (WiSNetMed). The network aims to promote women in not losing sight of their academic career from doctorate to professorship by offering lectures, workshops, or mentoring programmes for female scientists. Follow our sites to learn more!
Henrike Krenz, 'Equal Opportunity Representative' (December 2020 to June 2021) and former CRU326 member from the Institute of Medical Informatics (IMI), passes her position and responsibilities of coordinating our equal opportunity measures to Dr. Birgit Stallmeyer from the Institute of Reproductive Genetics (IRG).
Birgit will take over all corresponding tasks from July 2021 onwards. A mother of 2 grown-up children and an encouraged scientist, she is the perfect match for this position. "In order to promote the career opportunities of women in science, it is important to provide framework conditions that above all support the scientific profiling of women. I am looking forward continuing the successful work of Henrike and Maria regarding this important task and to get in touch with the women of the CRU!" Birgit emphasised, full of anticipation for all challenges ahead.
Many thanks to Henrike for her work over the past months and all the very best for her future paths! Besides, we wish Birgit all the best for this new adventure – please feel free to contact her via e-mail with your questions and ideas!