Programme for Women Professors III: the CAU takes a stance for gender equality

GWK (Joint Science Conference) recognises Kiel University’s new Future Gender Equality Concept


For the third time, Kiel University (CAU) is taking part in the joint federal government and states’ Programme for Women Professors. This was decided by an independent expert panel set up by the Joint Science Conference (GWK). The goal of the Programme for Women Professors is to increase the proportion of women in science. Since 2008, the initiative has enabled universities to provide start-up funding for up to three first-appointed female professors for a maximum of five years. Ideally, the total funding for the CAU could amount to a maximum of €1,237,500 by 2023. Using the approved funds, the university promotes additional equality measures in science at all levels.

“The programme demonstrably promotes equality between women and men in higher education, increases the number of women in top positions and improves their representation at all qualification levels within the scientific system,” said the Equal Opportunity Commissioner at Kiel University, Dr Iris Werner, about its success. The basis for the award was the positive evaluation of the CAU’s new Future Gender Equality Concept. With its situation and deficit analysis, it forms the starting point for further equality work at the CAU. Accordingly, it has already achieved good progress among doctoral researchers, assistant professors and employed research staff in the recent past. “However, I still see a need for action in the areas of postdoctoral lecture qualifications and professorships, as well as in permanent qualification and research positions,” emphasises Werner.  

“Gender equality is a long-term undertaking. This topic therefore continues to have a high priority for the University Board. We realise that we must continue to be alert and sensitive on equality issues and must not let up,” Vice President Anja Pistor-Hatam, responsible for equality at the CAU, congratulates the applicants on their continued support following two successful rounds. CAU Chancellor Claudia Ricarda Meyer adds: “The positive evaluation by the GWK encourages us to continue along the path we have taken leading to the systematic appointment of female professors. We currently appoint around 60 percent of women to assistant professorships and around 50% for full professorships. This is something we can build on.”

About the Programme for Women Professors

The Programme for Women Professors was established in 2008 and positively evaluated in both 2012 and 2017. In the third phase of the programme, it comprises funds of €200 million. In the first phase of the programme, 152 universities submitted a gender equality concept. In the second phase of the programme, those universities that were successful in the first phase were able to re-apply with documentation on how they aimed to implement their gender equality concepts. 184 universities participated in the second phase. The number of successful universities increased from 124 to 147 as the programme advanced. In the first phase of the programme, 111 universities received at least one funded professorship; in the second phase, 120 universities were successful. In the current phase, 111 universities from all 16 federal states are represented.

Universities like the CAU, which were previously successful in the first two phases, needed to submit a so-called Future Gender Equality Concept” in the third round. Questions about the sustainability of previous successful measures, about critical reflection and handling of unsuccessful measures, and about comprehensive quality management had to be answered. The focus was on the development of early career researchers in terms of gender equality. Here, the CAU was able to score points with successful and, in part, ongoing projects such as the mentoring programmes via:mento and via:mento_ocean, the 6+4 programme and the custom-made career development programme for female assistant professors. 86 universities have managed to convince the independent assessment body with their equality policy structures and measures.

female teacher in lecture hall
© Jürgen Haacks, Uni Kiel

Archive image. Currently, around 60 percent of appointed assistant professors at Kiel University are female. The appointment rate is around 50 percent for full professors.

Woman in lab
© Jürgen Haacks, Uni Kiel

Motif image. An important topic in the CAU’s Future Gender Equality Concept is the development of early career researchers in terms of gender equality.

Link to the CAU’s Future Gender Equality Programme:

Gleichstellungszukunftskonzept (German)


    Further information on the Programme for Women Professors:


    Dr. Iris Werner
    Equal Opportunity Commissioner at
    Kiel University (CAU)

    Tel.: 0431/880-1651
    Tel.-Büro: 0431/880-1661