Even women who are already successful in the highly competitive scientific community need visibility to fully develop their potential. The KIT Women Professors Forum (WPF), the network of female professors at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), is stepping up to breathe life into this idea. Among the speakers at the WPF’s kick-off event on June 30, 2022, will be constitutional judge Susanne Baer and Karlsruhe Mayor Bettina Lisbach.
“We need more women professors, especially in the STEM fields. With strong foundations like our two ‚Gender Equity‘ programs and other excellence projects, KIT is setting strategic exclamation marks here,” says Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. “For example, our 100 Professorships Program calls for 40 percent of new appointees to be women.” But equally important in Hanselka’s view is a culture of opportunity within KIT itself. He says the KIT Women Professors Forum would assume an important role in this regard. “As a place for self-understanding and dialogue, the forum will strengthen the community and increase the visibility of our top female scientists and thus promote their career success in research, teaching, and innovation,” says Hanselka.
“It’s not only women professors who will benefit from a cultural shift towards more equal opportunities. Because equal opportunities also stand for a good working atmosphere, clearly defined processes and a respectful way of dealing with each other,” says Professor Ines Langemeyer, a co-founder of the WPF and a member of the network’s executive board. “It’s great that we at KIT can show our ability to work together to get more good women researchers into the sciences, retain them there, and support them even at the professorship level, because many support programs are only directed at women below that level,” says Langemeyer.
Strategic Platform for Women Professors
Initially established in 2021 and now making its first public appearance after pandemic-related delays, the KIT Women Professors Forum sees itself as both a community and a strategic platform for the current 62 female professors at KIT. Among the goals of the network, which was inspired by WPFs at ETH Zurich and MIT in Boston, are informal exchanges and mutual support, increased involvement of women professors in relevant committees and decision-making processes, having a say in the implementation of KIT’s diversity strategy, and networking with similar initiatives in Germany and abroad. Forum members will be organizing a variety of regular and unscheduled activities such as lunchtime talks, discussion panels, and joint excursions.
More information: https://www.wpf.kit.edu/index.php
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