A Gender Equality Plan (GEP) is an eligibility criterion for the participation of universities in the EU's framework research Programme Horizon Europe. This Statement on the Gender Equality Plan of the University of Rostock provides a clear summary of the structures and measures for supporting gender equality .

I. Public Commitment of the Universitaet Rostock to Fostering Gender Equality in Research and Teaching

In keeping with its mission to be a university open to all, the Universitaet Rostock is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and tolerance. It expressly supports the European Commission's commitment to promoting gender equality in research and teaching.

II. Organisational Structure and Culture

Gender equality and equal opportunities are integral components of Universitaet Rostock's strategy for action and, as such, are considered management tasks. At central management level, these cross-cutting issues are firmly anchored in the office of the Vice-President for Internationalization, Gender Equality and Diversity Management.

The Equal Opportunities Officer provides university management with related expert, independent, support. S/he participates in all personnel, organisational and social measures relating to gender equality, work-care-family balance for all genders, protection against sexual harassment in the workplace. She is supported in the faculties by faculty representatives.

II.1 Groundwork

In signing the Diversity Charter, the Universitaet Rostock reaffirmed its overarching commitment to creating a gender-equitable and diversity-sensitive university culture. The principals of gender equality and tolerance are firmly anchored in numerous of the university’s core documents, in particular the University Guiding Principles and the Diversity Management Guidelines.

II.2 Gender Balance in Management

In order to achieve a stronger presence of women in university committees, targeted approaches are being used to encourage young female scientists in particular to get involved in academic self-administration. However, as long as female scientists are underrepresented at professorial level, their participation in managerial tasks often leads to an excessive burden for female professors. For this reason, female scientists involved in committees can apply for a student assistant for a maximum of 150 hours to support their scientific work.

II.3 Gender in Language Use

The Vice-Rector for Internationalization, Gender Equality and Diversity Management has developed numerous guidelines to meet the university’s commitment to being a discrimination-free university for all. These include Guidelines for Discrimination Limiting Language Use and Checklist for Diversity-Sensitive Picture Use.

II.4 Sensitization Measures and Trainings

All university gender equality and diversity management activities, advisory services and sensitization measures and trainings are listed in the Diversity Portal. It includes information on: diversity-sensitive job advertisements, discrimination-free personnel searches, reflection questions for diversity-sensitive event organisation as well as gender mainstreaming in project planning. The „Diversity Principals and Sensitization Training for Management“, for example, takes place twice a year.   

II.5 Hiring Practices

Regulations and principles for the advancement of women have been included in the university's hiring regulations. According to which, among other things, equal representation of women and men should be demonstrably worked toward and efforts to attract qualified female applicants documented.

As a result of this gender-sensitive hiring strategy, Universitaet Rostock surpassed the target quota of 20.93% female professors agreed with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture for Mecklenburg Western Pomerania for the 2016 – 2020 period. From a baseline of 17.3% in 2014, the percentage of female professors at the University rose to 22.7% by 2020.  

Not only is the special responsibility of management in ensuring gender equality in work and study conditions grounded in university management guidelines and a commitment to gender equality clearly stated in all job advertisements and employment contracts. Beyond these, the Equal Opportunities Officer provides formal feedback to the personnel department re: job advertisements, decisions not to advertise, candidate selection and more broadly regarding all academic and non-academic recruitment procedures for persons paid at public sector pay level TV-L 10 or above.

II.6 Career Development Measures

In order to counteract the so-called 'leaky pipeline', the university is committed to realizing equality for women in science careers by means of target group specific measures and individual support services.

As of 2009, Universitaet Rostock has had a European Social Fund financed Mentoring Programme to Foster Careers of Women in Research. This programme fosters targeted continuing education formats – such as structured seminar programs, mentoring and peer mentoring – in addition to the qualification and funding opportunities already on offer via the Universitaet Rostock Graduate Academy. Target groups include: PhD students, post-doctoral candidates, junior professors and physicians.

Beyond these, the university's successful participation in the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research Female Professors Programme III (2020 – 2025) has enabled further measures to be implemented to support women in their scientific careers. For instance, female scientists at the university may receive a scholarship to complete their doctorate or habilitation or receive financial support for family-related tasks, extensive committee activities, or – as mentioned above – a student assistant. Moreover, female scholars at the Universitaet Rostock may also participate in the coaching program for women in management positions. 

III. Integration of Gender in Research and Teaching

Some professorships at Universitaet Rostock focus on gender: e.g., one in the sociology division of the economic and social science faculties. Its specific focus is on social structure analysis and family demographics. The law faculty, for its part, has a junior professor position in public law on gender dimensions of law. The communications and media science division of the philosophical faculty has a research focus on gender in/and the media. 

These gender foci are also found in teaching. Numerous courses on gender and diversity are on offer. As of 2017, the diversity management officer has been publishing these in a course catalogue

In addition to advice provided by other gender experts at the university, the EU Liaison Officer also advises regarding the integration of gender equality in research content and process within the context of university staff applications for EU research funding.

Beyond these, the Gender and Queer Studies working group provides all interested members of the university a platform for exchange and planning of common events.  

IV. Measures Combating Gender-based Violence and Sexual Har-assment

Respectful interactions and the protection of all university actors are top priorities of the University.

The flyer Respectful interactions – against sexual harassment in the work place provides affected persons with optional ways to respond, legal and procedural advice and the names of respective contact persons. Beyond these, the University runs regular sensibilizing events, e.g. action days against sexism and homophobia. During one such action week against sexism and queer hate, a digital and interactive presentation entitled Discrimination and violence against LSBTIQA* was shown alongside an exhibit entitled we are part of culture. The latter presented portraits of well-known European artists in the queer community.

V. Work-Life Balance

Universitaet Rostock was certified a family friendly university in 2009.The Family Office posts its offers for employees and students on its website. The state of Mecklenburg Northern Pomerania, in which Universitaet Rostock is located, is also family friendly. It has been providing universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten access for free since 2009, as of 2020 also day care. In 2021, e.g., the Hansa and University City Rostock had at 99% the second highest rate of public care of two-years in the country.  

The medical division of the university has standing collaboration with the Greenhouse day care center. Its 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 pm opening hours fulfil the needs of medical personnel. The University also offers flexible, shorter-term child care support. The Family Office organizes emergency or out of normal working hour child care services for students and university employees via the Rostock Family Service. The Family Office also provides support for applications for financial assistance for these services. Furthermore, as of 2004, Universitaet Rostock has ensured that meetings end by 4:00 pm.

Additional measures have been introduced to foster family flexibility, among them numerous online and hybrid classes as well as official agreements on flexible working time and mobile work. The above mentioned Family Office, established in 2016, provides a broader role as the contact point for all university members to initiative, organize and advertise family support options.

VI. Resources

The gender equality division obtains its budget of €224,000 annually from the budget of the Vice-Rector for Internationalization, Gender Equality and Diversity Management. Currently the Gender Equality Officer is entitled to use 50% of her work time toward her gender equality duties. She is supported by a half-time assistant. She has a budget of €2,500 per year for materials. Beyond this, the university obtained funding in the amount of €1.1 million from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the 2020 - 2025 continuation of the Female Professor programme. Furthermore, funds in the amount of €475,000 have been obtained from the European Social Fund Career Path Mentoring for the 2022 to 2025 period. The University tops it up with an additional €53,000.  

VII. Data Generation and Monitoring

Gender monitoring provides the basis for strategic gender equality action.

Gender-specific data are generated by controlling twice a year and made available to university actors via the intranet. The newly integrated DOCATA software will make it possible in the future to carry out broader gender monitoring, including regarding: the profile of doctoral students, their progress, advising, and cessation quotas. Subject-specific and gender equality goals and measures can also be monitored and modified as part of ongoing quality enhancement measures.