Lecture series gender and diversity

26. September 2019

Remaining gender disparities in the academic career of physicists – empirical findings and potential explanations

Bettina Langfeldt (Kassel, Germany)


Abstract: The presentation focuses on gender-related disparities within the academic field of physics regarding the application of career knowledge, career  orientation, and the use of different career strategies. Beside these factors located on the individual level, the presentation reveals data-based a) which institutional frameworks have the greatest (gender-differentiating) influence on the career success of men and women in science, and b) what equality measures exist in the academic field of physics and how they are used and judged by physicists. Furtheron, it will be shown, how strongly women and men differ concerning their experiences of disadvantage in relation to recognition of performance, assessment of professional competencies, and integration into networks. Apart the gender perspective, other factors potentially influencing academic careers of physicists, such as belonging to a certain age cohort or having children, are also considered. The empirical basis of this presentation is quantitative data collected through an online survey conducted between October 2012 and February 2013 as part of a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund of the European Union (ESF). A total of 5,174 individuals with a degree in mathematics or physics took part in the survey.

10. September 2018

How to keep women (and men) in science

Petra Rudolf (University of Groningen)


Abstract: The EU report on Women in Science identifies different risks which can result in the drop out of women from academic life at different career stages: at the beginning (PhD phase) it is mainly the lack of support from the supervisor, in the postdoc phase the problem of reconciling career and motherhood is most acute, then the risk shifts to lack of career expectations and even at the associate/full professor level there remains a risk due to isolation and exclusion. I shall discuss these issues based on studies from Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan.
Based on the trends which emerge from these studies, I shall also suggest some measures to be taken to ensure that women stay in science. From this it will be obvious that all measures which favour women in science are good for men as well.

12. October 2017

GENERA: A European project supporting equal opportunities for women and men in physics

Francesca Moglia (DESY, Hamburg)

12.10.17 15:00 - 16:00

University of Oldenburg

Abstract: Excellence in research can be obtained at best if the selection of scientists can be performed from a large and diverse talent pool. For this reason, physics needs both brilliant women and men in the role of researcher. How does the European Commission support especially female physicists in science? The Genera project is the answer. Different research institutions from whole Europe have committed themselves within this project to promote the equality of opportunities for women and men in physics. A few leading German research institutions such as the Max-Planck Society, the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) belong to the network. The Horizon 2020 project is supported by the European Union with almost 3.5 million Euros over three years. Practically, the parity of opportunities should be obtained through the compilation and implementation by the institutions of equal opportunity plans. Genera is running since September 2015 and will report about the results and milestones obtained so far.

7. March 2017

Quantitative Evaluation of Gender Bias in Astronomical Publications from Citation Counts

Neven Caplar (ETH Zürich)

7.3.2017, 10:00,

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Diversity is essential to delivering excellence in science. However, gender inequality and biases seem to be persistent in the scientific community. I will present the study in which we tried to measure the role of gender on the number of citations that papers receive in astronomy. We gathered metadata on the large fraction of the papers published in astronomy and computed difference between citation counts between papers with female or male first author. To account for the fact that the properties of female and male first author papers differ intrinsically, we used a random forest algorithm to control for the non-gender specific properties of these papers. I will argue that the papers authored by females received 10.4+-0.9% fewer citations than what would be expected if the papers with the same non-gender specific properties were written by the male authors.

The presentation is available here:

6. October 2016

Looking at Physics from a Gender Studies Perspective

Helene Götschel (University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover)

6.10.2016, 14:30,

Universität Oldenburg

Gender Studies not only look at the situation of women in science. They rather analyze the social constructions and cultural representations of gender in science or STEM fields. They focus on human actors and workplace cultures as much as on the image of science and the knowledge production in science. Using methods and tools from the humanities and social science, gender studies look e.g.at physics textbooks, communication in research labs, educational settings at universities, behavior of physicists at conferences, or the representation of physics in TV series or theatre plays. After a short introduction to gender studies and the concept of gender, the main focus of my talk will be the presentation of selected research findings on gender and physics. Finally we discuss, why it could be helpful to know these research results to develop contemporary physics.

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