Equality – Objectives and Measures
As a University of Applied Sciences for technology, computing and media, THU is active in subjects traditionally studied by a high proportion of men. We aim to prepare our female students well for their future professions – and to get them as enthusiastic about technical careers as we currently manage to do with our male students. To achieve this, we need to and want to put in considerable effort. This also includes acquiring and supporting female staff in scientific roles and professorships.
Role of the Equality Unit
The Equality Unit is responsible for all concerns regarding equality at THU.
It comprises the Equality Representatives, selected via the Senate, and their deputies. These people act as representatives for the equality work at THU, and are supported in their roles by the Desk Officer for Equality. Officially, the Equal Opportunities Team is responsible for the scientific support staff at THU (office workers, laboratory staff, technical services etc.), and the Equality Team looks after students, academic staff and professors. But we are all happy to listen to everyone's questions and problems, and we cooperate closely. In this way, we can usually take rapid and unbureaucratic action. Our equality activities are supported by the Equality Committee. This consists of the people listed above, as well as the Equality Representatives from all departments and other interested parties. Their role is to generate consensus regarding equality issues, objectives and measures at THU. The role of the Equality Unit is, under the management of the Equality Representatives, to support the University of Applied Sciences Management in the implementation of the equality directive anchored in section 4 of the State Higher Education Act (Landeshochschulgesetz - LHG - §4). The State Higher Education Act obliges universities to consider gender-specific effects in all areas, tasks and decisions (LHG - §4). It also obliges universities to "actually implement equal opportunities for men and women" and demands "the elimination of existing disadvantages" as well as active promotion to increase the proportion of women in all subjects and at all levels where women are underrepresented" (LHG section 4). Topics such as making it easier to combine family life and scientific work are also anchored in the LHG.
Activities and Offers
Equality and being family friendly
The Equality Unit has taken on the task of developing and implementing measures to support gender equality at THU and which, in particular, help advance female students and female professors. In addition to a wide range of advice on gender equality issues, this also includes measures to support and connect female students by means of seminars and mentoring, measures to acquire and promote female professors, support for the promotion and development of gender and diversity concepts in teaching and research, as well as in 'dual careers'. THU is also certified as a family-friendly University of Applied Sciences and has, for example, two family rooms.
The objective of all these measures is not to give female students and female professors preferential treatment compared to their male colleagues. Women are not essentially inferior to men by virtue of their gender and therefore in need of special treatment. Rather, these measures concern the compensation of structural inequalities which actually exist and the disadvantages experienced by women – this is also the basis for the LHG. Therefore, the mission of the Equality Unit at THU is to introduce effective gender mainstreaming. This means a gender perspective shall be established in all areas of the THU to ensure our structures are formed in such a way that they lead to true equality for women in all areas of the University of Applied Sciences.
Here, an important tool is the advancement of women. Targeted supportive measures for women will strengthen them in their structurally more difficult positions. They can also be equipped to deal with these structural inequalities.
To eliminate structural inequalities, there are certain phenomena which must be counteracted. This includes, for example, homosociality i.e. the fact that homogeneous groups and institutions generally wish to surround themselves with similar people: i.e. men promote men more often. An awareness of gender bias – i.e. an often unconscious distortion in the perception of men and women relating to their skills and performance – should also be created. On the one hand, the Equality Unit wants to ensure far-reaching awareness of these topics and, on the other, it hopes to achieve lasting structural change via a targeted increase in the proportion of women students and professors – in order to achieve true equal opportunities and fairness for all.
Diversity and Anti-discrimination
The structural disadvantages for other dimensions of diversity and their overlaps are also similar to those experienced by women. The dimensions of diversity are, for example, defined in the Charter for Diversity and are: age, ethnic origin and nationality, gender and gender identity, physical and intellectual abilities, religion and worldview, sexual orientation and social background. THU is aware of its attraction as a University of Applied Sciences and knows that a significant proportion of our students and potential students have a history of migration and/or may have other, overlapping dimensions of diversity. THU fundamentally rejects discrimination based on all these dimensions of diversity. THU is currently working on a concept to actively protect against discrimination, sexual harassment and violence.
Furthermore, THU is determined to oppose all forms of discrimination as stated in the THU Senate declaration against racism and discrimination.
Equality in Studying and in Science
Two central themes for equality at THU are the development and implementation of supportive measures for women during their studies and throughout their scientific careers. These are aimed at female students from the start of their degree course through to graduation, as well as at female professors – acquiring them and promoting them. In addition, the Equality Unit aims to reach out early on to girls still at school: to persuade them to choose a STEM degree and to encourage a long-term and sustainable relationship with the THU.
Equally, our mission to acquire new female professors is not fulfilled once they have signed an employment contract with us. THU aspires to a long-term relationship with its female professors, through focused supportive measures and personal development. Currently the FH Personal project team is working on strategies for acquiring female professors and personal development.
Supporting female students
As a University of Applied Sciences, THU tends to have fewer female students than male students – corresponding to the traditional role models which are still firmly anchored in wider society. The Equality Unit is involved in projects for schoolgirls, for example, the national Girls' Day, to increase the proportion of girls interested in studying a STEM subject after they finish high school – and to enable a good start to their studies for new female students.
Networking and female role models are essential for female students. At the same time, these are central tools and activities for equality work and supporting women. Adapted to female students' needs, THU will announce regular events on one of the specially created platforms. Female students can also use these for networking among themselves.
- Frauennetzwerk@THU was set up by the Equality Representative. All female students at THU can register via the Moodle course of the same name.
The following events – designed especially for female students – take place regularly and are announced via Frauennetzwerk@THU and on the notice boards at the entrances to both THU locations.
- Fireside evenings, where successful women from industry talk about their careers
- Seminars and training sessions on topics such as personal development and job applications
- Awareness and empowerment workshops, some also for students
In addition, female students at THU have the option of taking part in BayernMentoring at HNU. Mentoring is when a mentee gets one-to-one advice and support from an experienced woman in the industry. In addition to offering advice and discussions, mentoring includes an accompanying program of training sessions, workshops and talks. This enables mentees to network with each other as well as getting to know other mentors and women from the industry in leadership roles.
Mentoring is one of the most effective tools for boosting women's careers.
Please get in touch with us: email@example.com
Acquiring female professors and scientists and supporting their careers
To actively support women on their way to a professorship, THU is a dedicated member of the State Conference for Equality Representatives at Universities of Applied Sciences in Baden-Württemberg (LaKof BW), along with other universities. Here, for example, the Equality Representative regularly provides information at events, such as "Infoabend Professur".
In addition, the Equality Unit uses other tools for helping women acquire professorships and to support existing female professors.
THU is an active user of the database provided by the State Conference for Equality Representatives at Universities of Applied Sciences in Baden-Württemberg (LaKof) in order to help recruit female professors. If you are interested in a professorship at THU, please register on the appropriate Lakof BW database, or contact us directly.
You can also register on the bukof database for female scientists.
(Deputy) Equality Representatives from the THU are represented in all appeals procedures and monitor the appeals process with respect to gender equality – from reassignment and invitation for applications, through to acceptance by the candidate.
Onboarding and career restarts
The FH Personal project is planning the development of a concept for gender-conscious onboarding, as well as a program for re-entering the workplace after periods spent looking after dependents.
Teaching positions for academics
THU is happy to provide teaching positions for women in all departments to support them on their journey to qualify as a professor, as well as giving them the chance to familiarize themselves with how the university organization works. We are also an active user of the Mathilde Planck professorship program offered by the State Conference for Equality Representatives at Universities of Applied Sciences in Baden-Württemberg (LaKof).
If you are interested in a teaching position, please get in touch with us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personal development and retention of female employees
THU is establishing (gender-sensitive) concepts for the Personal Development Department to develop further. To achieve this, the Personal Development Working Group (Arbeitskreis Personalentwicklung) was set up in 2018. For example, the FH Personal project and the HR Department work together in this group.
There are regular meet-ups for female professors to help female colleagues to exchange views, network and offer each other support. Find out more from the Equality Representative or via e-mail: email@example.com.
You can find useful general information about professorships at universities of applied sciences (FH/HAW) here.
Officially, the Equal Opportunities Team is responsible for the scientific support staff at THU (office workers, laboratory staff, technical services etc.), and the Equality Team looks after students, academic staff and professors. But we are all happy to listen to everyone's questions and problems, and we cooperate closely. Hopefully, in this way, we can act swiftly and unbureaucratically.
Diversity and Anti-discrimination
THU recognizes the diversity of our students and staff and aims to support it. We see the need to focus more strongly on diversity and anti-discrimination. Our intention is to fully represent and highlight the diversity of students and staff at the University of Applied Sciences.
The THU's long-term objective is to establish structures at all organizational levels of the THU which do not merely avoid discrimination but which actively promote diversity. This is underpinned by the recognition that diverse perspectives are especially beneficial to science, and that diversity and inclusion have long been factors for success in industry. To achieve this, THU intends to create and implement measures which
- recognize diversity as a resource and promote it
- counteract discrimination of all kinds, raise awareness and, as far as is possible, make THU a location which is free from discrimination
- empower people in these areas
- make the University of Applied Sciences a safe place, free from sexual harassment and violence
- promote disabled access and inclusive practices
- progressively 'mainstream' diversity
Gender and Diversity in teaching and research
Our students at THU are united by a common interest in STEM subjects and applied sciences. Their diversity and differences moves the University of Applied Sciences forward. In order to successfully qualify each of our students for the job market or a career in science, THU aims to structure our teaching and research so that all students are offered the same chances, and that we respond to their different needs.
The following dimensions of diversity are defined in the Charter for Diversity and general equality legislation: age, gender, ethnic origin, worldview/religion, sexual identity, disability/chronic illness and social background.
Teaching should be structured in such a way that no student is discriminated against in any of these dimensions. In addition, further criteria must be taken into account which may affect individual learning outcomes: educational history – especially associated with the student's social background – type and origin of their higher education entrance qualification, language knowledge and the student's ability to express themselves in writing, learning strategies and studying conditions (access to a place for private study, financial situation, family obligations etc.).
The objective of properly inclusive and diversity-sensitive teaching is to design the teaching methods and examinations so they take all these individual prerequisites into account. To achieve this, teachers and students can seek advice from the Equality Unit or the Institute for Teaching Excellence at any time.
In addition, the Equality Unit would like to inform you about the following useful and innovative offers:
Toolbox Gender und Diversity in der Lehre from Freie Universität Berlin (toolbox for gender and diversity in teaching)
E-Learning Tool für Diversity-Kompetenz in der Hochschullehre from Cologne University and RWTH Aachen (e-learning tool for diversity skills in tertiary education)
Nowadays, aspects of gender inclusiveness and diversity are actively called for in invitations for applications, and are incorporated in the evaluation of research proposals. The Equality Unit is happy to provide advice on creating research proposals in relation to gender inclusiveness and diversity. firstname.lastname@example.org
The DFG provides information on the relevance of gender and diversity in research and engineering on its website.
You will also find a checklist for applicants there. This may also be a useful orientation aid for applications to other funding bodies.
Information for people with disabilities
So that students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are not disadvantaged in their studies, Ulm University of Applied Sciences has established the office of Representative for Students with Disabilities (Amt des Beauftragten für Studierende mit Behinderungen). On January 31, 2014 the Senate selected Prof. Dr. Jörg Lehmann to be the representative for students with disabilities. Professor Lehmann has a doctorate in medicine and works at the Department of Computer Science. One of his tasks is to assert claims regarding disadvantages due to disabilities. You can reach him at Joerg.Lehmann@thu.de
or on 0731-5028609.
The Disabled Employees' Representative at Ulm University of Applied Sciences is responsible for employees with disabilities. This representative is Mr. Franz Roth, 0731-5028264.
Contact partners for sexual harassment
Ulm University of Applied Sciences will absolutely not tolerate sexual harassment or violence in any form. The following people are available to talk to for anyone who has suffered sexual harassment or violence at our university of applied sciences – or for those who wish to highlight deficits/risks in this area:
- Barbara Streppel (Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Natural and Economic Sciences): Barbara.Streppel@thu.de
- Tim Pietzcker (Professor and Program Adviser for Health Information Management): Tim.Pietzcker@thu.de
All conversations take place in the strictest confidence, and further action will only be taken with the express permission of the affected person.
Another good first step would be to talk to someone you know and trust.
THU has issued guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment, discrimination and violence, which you can access by clicking the following link: THU guidelines
Furthermore, THU is currently working on a concept to protect against sexual harassment and violence.
A Family-Friendly THU
THU believes the ability to combine family responsibilities, studying and a career is extremely important. We are a certified "family-friendly" University of Applied Sciences.
THU has two family rooms/rooms for breastfeeding on the Prittwitzstraße and the Albert-Einstein-Allee campuses. In addition to child-related facilities, these rooms are also equipped with a desk and PC. They can be used by both students and staff. You can register to use them by contacting email@example.com. Once you have registered, you can access the rooms at short notice as you need them, without having to inform anyone in advance.
If – as a student, teacher or scientific member of staff – you become pregnant, the legal provisions of the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) apply as soon as you officially inform the THU of your pregnancy. It goes without saying that the Equality Unit is also available to you at any time for confidential discussions on this topic.
Part-time studying and parental leave
Students can also study part-time at THU if they are unable to study full-time due to their family responsibilities. All student parents also have the right to parental leave of up to three years per child. A parental allowance (Elterngeld) can be claimed during this time, although the period is shorter.
For more detailed information about studying part-time, parental leave and combining your studies with family life, please contact the Equality Representative, Prof. Streppel: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need advice about pregnancy, parental leave or care roles, you can speak to us in confidence at any time: email@example.com.
Baby pack for THU employees
THU sends a baby pack (Baby-Päckle) to members of the THU who have just had a baby (professors, scientists, scientific support staff and students). Please get in touch with us!
Dual Career Service
The Dual Career Service is a support service provided by the THU, aimed at the partners of professors or scientific support staff who have recently started work at THU. Dual Career supports couples by helping them advance the career development of both partners in the Ulm region.
In doing this, THU is aided by the Swabian Dual Career Network, Dual Career Netzwerks Schwaben (DCNS).
THU is a network partner and founder member of the DCNS.
If you are interested in this offer please get in touch with the staff at the Equality Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some additional useful links for independent research in the Ulm area:
Proffile: Die Arbeitgeber in der Region (Employers in the region)
IHK Ulm (Ulm Chamber of Industry and Commerce)
Agentur für Arbeit Ulm (Ulm Job Center)
Job vacancies at THU
Job vacancies at Ulm University Hospital
Job vacancies at HNU
Guidelines, Standards and Publications
Gender Equality Plan (GEP)
With the 2022-2025 THU Gender Equality Plan, agreed by the University of Applied Sciences Management, THU is working towards actually implementing equal rights for women and men, as well as dismantling existing disadvantages. In doing so, it is fulfilling the requirements of the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon Europe.
Furthermore, the objective of this Equality Plan is to create a suitable framework for equality at Ulm University of Applied Sciences, which opens up activities and financial options going beyond the purely legal measures.
Language has the potential to discriminate against and exclude people. The THU believes using a respectful and appreciative tone, along with inclusive and gender-conscious language, is extremely important. This is why the THU published the President's Office's guidelines for gender-inclusive language on October 22, 2018.
Although some people find it too difficult, complicated or even uncomfortable to use gender-inclusive language when they speak or write, all people deserve to feel addressed, considered and included. After all, there really are people who do not feel addressed or represented by the generic masculine. The Equality Unit believes that, based on democratic principles, anti-discrimination and (gender) inclusiveness, the "effort" is worthwhile. At the same time the "stumbling" over "gendered" words such as, for example, the German form Wissenschaftler*innen, raises awareness of the "problem", thus changing the way people think and, in the long term, helping us to always incorporate all genders into our thinking. This is the only way to dismantle distorting effects such as gender bias and stereotypical roles in the long-term. In turn, this is particularly beneficial to everyone in STEM subjects because, currently, there are significantly more men than women in this sector, primarily due to stereotypical role models.
Furthermore, with the change to the German personal statute law in 2018, in addition to 'männlich' (male) or 'weiblich' (female) , there is now the option of having 'divers' (non-binary) as a third positive entry.
Officially, when writing in German, the University of Applied Sciences recommends the use of the "Binnen-I" (e.g. in WissenschaftlerInnen) or stating both forms of the term. The Equality Unit also welcomes the use of the Asterisk (a gender star) with an accompanying feminine adjective (erfolgreiche Wissenschaftler*in), or a gender colon (Wissenschaftler:innen). All these approaches use placeholders (I,*,:) to make non-binary people typographically visible, in addition to men and women.
We have listed some links, standards, political viewpoints and some useful websites for you below on the topic of gender-conscious and inclusive language, the pros and cons of gendered language, as well as scientific perspectives on gender equality in universities.
Collection of links for equality and gender-inclusive language (in German)
Standpunkte für eine geschlechtergerechte Hochschulpolitik der bukof (bukof views on gender-inclusive university policies) - Bundeskonferenz der Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragten / Federal Conference for Women and Equality Representatives
Gendern - so geht´s genderleicht (Gendering: how to do it)
Leitfaden geschlechtersensible Sprache der DHBW (DHBW guidelines for gender inclusive language)
Geschickt gendern – Das Genderwörterbuch (gender in style – the gender dictionary)
Equality literature list
Equality literature list
For general queries: email@example.com
Prof. Dr. Barbara Streppel, Equal Opportunities Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 731 96537620
Prof. Dr. med. Tim Pietzcker, Deputy Equality Representative
email@example.com, +49 731 5028528