Technology is a women’s issue

Technology is a women's issue

Coburg university is committed to equal opportunities. She is now a member of a special network.

The problem starts in the rush hour of life: "until the high school graduation there are no major differences between men and women. But in your mid or late 20s, you enter a phase where everything in your life happens at the same time", says dr. Renate lucke. Find a partner, make a home, make basic decisions about starting a job and career. "The academic education path with studies and doctorate is very lengthy anyway", explains lucke "and for a professorship at a university of applied sciences, an additional five years of professional experience is generally required." Even today women have less time for such a career than men. Because the decision to do so is made in the middle of rush hour: that’s why universities don’t have an easy time finding female professors.

Lucke is a mentoring manager at coburg university and has also been recruiting female professors since march. It deliberately looks for suitable female candidates, because the university of coburg has set itself the goal of challenging women. Role models are also important: female professors, female executives. With president christiane fritze, vice-presidents jutta michel and aileen susanne funke, and chancellor maria knott-lutze, coburg has exactly the kind of people who can inspire young women.

In the "women wanted" project lucke combines the work of various offices to form a joint strategy for women’s demands: president fritze is committed to the issue, the equal opportunities officer monika faab, the gender competence officer lisa konig, the women’s officers and the department for personnel and organizational development.

It’s not just about top positions, but about reducing disadvantages in general. Coburg university has just joined the national pact for women in STEM professions. Graduates in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology are in demand – and the majority of them are men. That’s why the federal ministry of education and research has created the platform. Under the motto "come, do MINT" decision-makers from business, science, associations, the media and politics are working together to attract girls and young women to careers in science and technology. Coburg is a perfect fit, because the number of students in these fields, which are so important for the region’s economy, has increased sharply here, and in the coming years a MINT quarter will be built on the friedrich streib campus, where the technical faculties will teach and conduct research.

While construction is underway, renate lucke and her colleagues are working to make the neighborhood a home for female students and scientists. The MINT platform’s job board aims to help attract female professors. "But we can also use the ministry’s network to exchange information with other universities and companies about attracting and challenging women in STEM fields." Conversely, the women in the university management in coburg and, for example, the videos about female professors and doctoral students are well received in the network.

"It’s very often about making women visible", lucke explains her work. "In the mentoring program, we encourage women that they don’t have to be so hesitant. Men make it easy: they are happy to apply for a job for which they have no competence at all."

Women, on the other hand, were often strongly questioned and sometimes did not see what they were capable of – even if they were highly qualified. Poor work-life balance is not the only problem. But it is still one of the main causes of the imbalance.


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