Press Release 058/2022

KIT Women Professors Forum Launches

Kick-off Event of the New Network of Leading Female Scientists Sets Example for Equal Opportunities at Universities
2022_058_Auftakt des KIT Women Professors Forum_72dpi
From junior professor to Leibniz prizewinner, the KIT Women Professors Forum unites top female scientists at all career stages (collage: Nicole Gross, KIT)

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.

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Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jha, 24.06.2022


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