Focus on equal opportunity

Talent, creativity and passion - those are the qualities the Max Planck Society relies on. The Society supports employees irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion, disabilities, age, cultural background or sexual identity. After all, the basis for the cutting-edge research conducted at over 80 Max Planck Institutes lies in diversity.


The Working Party for the promotion of female scientists

This governing body of the Scientific Council provides a forum for a maximum of 15 male and female Directors from the three Sections along with junior scientists. The Committee is called upon to advise the President, the Administrative Headquarters, the Scientific Members and the governing bodies of the Max Planck Society on all questions regarding the promotion of female scientists and the balancing of family and work, and also looks at personal issues. It ensures that Appointment Committees in the Section explain in individual cases why no suitable female scientist could be found for the post to be occupied.

Personnel and professional considerations for new appointments are also discussed in the Scientific Advisory Boards at the Max Planck institutes before appointment applications are sent by the institute management to the President. Therefore, if possible, female scientists are involved in the Scientific Advisory Boards so that with their support highly qualified women in the respective research fields can be identified at this early discussion stage.

An instruction guide for Max Planck

A guide was designed back in 2003 with the intention to promote constructive interaction between male scientists and their female colleagues. It is given to every newly appointed scientist and is divided into three parts: Firstly, it focuses on the underlying reasons for the unequal treatment of men and women in scientific operations. Then it lists situations by way of examples in which women might feel discriminated against or unfairly treated in order to make specific suggestions in the final section as to how to avoid differential treatment.

What can be improved?

  • anchoring the names of female scientists in the collective memory based on their performance
  • avoiding stereotypes in the assessment of a person
  • calls for applications and use of databases in appointment procedures in order to identify female scientists with specific profiles
  • targeted activities to give junior female scientists opportunities to raise their profile

Download: the text of the guide

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