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|Region:||North Rhine Westphalia|
|Name of Organisation:||University of Paderborn|
|Main implementing organisation:||Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics of the University of Paderborn in cooperation with the gender equality officer of the University of Paderborn|
|Line of Business:||University of Paderborn, the University for the Information Society: the university brings together all its activities that are of central importance to the continued development of the information society.|
|End Date:||Still Ongoing|
|Number of Employees||2383||38.31 %|
|Employees in R&D||919||27.2 %|
|Number of Employees in Top Positions||214||26.64 %|
|Transferability of the initiative||Programme is considered to be transferable to another context|
|Type of initiative referring to strategic objectives||individual|
|gender in research|
|Type of initiative, located on the stage of career progression of women scientists||Pre-University|
The overriding objective is to implement gender aspects in academic courses and research areas in particular that will make a significant contribution to the establishment of the university’s profile as a university for the information society. The project has several goals aiming to
Numerous measures were designed and implemented by the project for this purpose.
Increasing interest among girls and young women in science and engineering courses.
Increasing the proportion of women students and academic personnel in the MINT subjects, particularly in relation to professorships.
The proportion of women among students and scientists is very low in the MINT subjects (mathematics, computer sciences, natural sciences and engineering).
Very few women choose a science or engineering course because of traditional stereotypical academic choices made by young women and outdated perceptions of careers in engineering and technology. There are few opportunities for young women to identify with these careers due to a lack of female role models in science, business and the media.
The project enables a number of measures to be established at the University of Paderborn to promote women’s participation in science and engineering courses:
These measures are popular with women and girls. Evaluations of some of these measures show their positive (successful) effect on subsequent course and career choices by participants in a science or engineering area.
The success of the project is also evident in the large number of participants in the events held. Each year about 150 schoolgirls attend the Girls‘ Day, and about 100 schoolgirls take part in the University Taster Course. The workshops held are usually booked out.
The proportion of women professors in electrical engineering, for example, was increased in recent years to 14.3%. This is a high representation for women in this area in comparison with the national average.
There was a dearth of women students and scientists in the science and engineering departments. To change this it was necessary firstly to carry out studies into the reason for this situation and secondly to implement steps to resolve it.
Another aspect has been added in recent years, whereby the low number of students in engineering in general and the expected lack of specialist workers in the future as a consequence have made it necessary to take steps to recruit students. In this context we cannot do without the potential offered by young women in the MINT area. This problem will increase in future through demographic change.
Equal opportunities policies were adopted very early due to under-representation of women at all academic career levels. They aim to increase the share of women and to promote equal participation of women in academia.
The region’s first women’s representative was elected in 1987. A gender equality commission was initiated, decentralized gender equality officers & deputies elected and plans for the promotion of women drafted. Many equal opportunities measures have been initiated and implemented.
A programme for boys is to be offered for the first time in 2010. Run in parallel with the Girls‘ Day, the “New Approaches for Boys” programme will enable schoolboys to get to know about courses in which male students are under-represented, such as art or education.
In order to attract women students to science and engineering courses, the project initiated the University Taster Course for schoolgirls. In the interdisciplinary autumn programme held each year since 2002, schoolgirls at Secondary Level II attend lectures, workshops, panel discussions and personal interviews that give them an insight into all the courses offered by the participating MINT subjects and can find out about the general conditions associated with studying at the University of Paderborn. Around 100 girl pupils attend the University Taster Course per year.
Since 2008, Easter and Summer Schools have been held, enabling schoolgirls at the age of 14-18 years to find out how the contents of the MINT subjects are applied. This is done in a series of different workshops, i.e. a half-day workshop on plastics with a possibility for participants to produce plastic in the University’s laboratory, or a three-day workshop teaching how to handle 3D software which is designed to create interactive stories and games (both examples from Easter School 2010). Up to now, participation in the Easter and Summer schools was around 30, but is expected to be raised in future.
In another measure, since 2001, the project has been organizing programmes for the nationwide Girls’ Day event, held at the University of Paderborn each year in April. The Girls’ Day creates an opportunity for schoolgirls to get to know job opportunities in natural sciences and engineering. At Girls’ Day, the University of Paderborn also offers workshops, e.g. an information management workshop on “Location Based Retail – Shopping with the iPhone” (example from 2010). Approximately 170 girls (pupils) participate each per year. In 2010 the “New Approaches for Boys” programme will be held in parallel to the Girls’ Day for the first time.
In 2008, the project produced a film entitled “What is a Female Engineer?” based on the results of a street survey. This film aimed to examine and combat gender stereotyping in role models.
Each year Euro 78,000 is invested in the consolidation of the project. The project is affiliated with the University’s Faculty of electrical engineering, computer science and mathematics. It is run by a research assistant and its implementation is accompanied by an advisory board. In order to reach the target group, events are announced in the regional media and on relevant websites, but also during visits at education fairs and schools as well as through the teachers.
Thanks to the two successful model trials that provided the starting point for the implementation of the “Frauen gestalten die Informationsgesellschaft” project (see additional information), there was already a great deal of interest at the University of Paderborn in developing and progressing this theme within the university. Accordingly, it was not necessary to discuss the principle of the need for such a project at the university, so that, after the model trials were concluded, it was only necessary to produce a concept for how the results obtained could be incorporated and implemented in a sustainable project.
It is very important to underpin the establishment of a new initiative with research results and then to accompany the initiative with research. It is best to begin in the start-up phase with a project sponsored by a prominent institution with an exemplary character and with external funding, such as that provided by the BMBF – with a corresponding public profile. It is also important that the university management (executive committee, deans) should always be included in the processes and that they should receive regular reports on the progress and results of the project. It is also important that the project should have high visibility in the university’s internal and external public relations.
The long-established project has gathered vast experience.
The University believes in attracting women students and scientists to the MINT subjects and integrating gender research in subjects. Increasing competition among higher education institutes for students is also important for continuing the project.
It targets schoolgirls at an early stage, i.e. Secondary Levels I & II, to show choices available to girls early in the socialization process and to combat gender stereotypical role models.
The Paderborn “Frauen gestalten die Informationsgesellschaft” project can be transferred to all academic institutions in which women are under-represented in the science and engineering areas.
The University is guided by the ideal of being the university for the information society. The project is well established in the faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics and promoting gender aspects. The University ensures sustainable attainment of equal opportunities by setting a goal of fully implementing the gender mainstreaming strategy, anchoring equality-related processes at all service levels and in all decisions taken. The project is embedded within this aim.
• involves individual measures to attract women students/scientists to MINT subjects, but also implements gender research in research and teaching in these subjects
• is integral to the overall university concept
• is closely associated with university for the information society
• focuses particularly on Computer Science (this is reflected in the positioning of the project within the university organisation)
The various measures organised within the project (Girls‘ Day, University Taster Course, Easter + Summer School) are regularly evaluated by means of participant surveys. A retention study was carried out as part of the University Taster Course programme.
This project is a good practice because it combines and consolidates specific measures to increase the proportion of women in science and engineering courses with theoretical gender research.
Good practice is also evident in the sustainability of the project and its integration in the profile of the university.
The measures implemented to attract women students have already made girls enthusiastic about the MINT subjects at a very early stage or have encouraged existing interest.
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