The promotion of equal opportunities between women and men is taken very seriously at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy. This is also reflected in figures: More than half (55%) of the academic staff are women. In the Department of Social Policy, six out of the ten available leading positions are held by women. Among the non-scientific staff, the ratio of women to men is even 3:1.
Reconciling Family and Work
In order to offer equal opportunities to our female and male staff, the Institute promotes the reconciliation of family and work, and thus specifically supports colleagues during their family planning stages and career starting phases. They are given the possibility, for instance, to arrange for flexible and family-friendly working hours. Important Institute meetings usually take place during the core working time. Our researchers also have the possibility to work from home. Furthermore, the MPS – since 2006 certified with “audit berufundfamilie“ – assists parents with finding childcare (see information on “Family Advice Service” in the right-hand column).
Equal Opportunities for Researchers
The Max Planck Society (MPS) also offers targeted support programmes for its researchers:
Female researchers from the Max Planck Institutes who have a doctoral degree are offered the opportunity to take part in the seminar program entitled Sign up! Careerbuilding. Its aim is to prepare young female researchers, by way of training programmes for the development of leadership skills and knowledge sharing, for leading positions in the academic world, as well as to support them via an explicitly career-oriented network.
For female academics from all research areas and hierarchy levels, the Minerva FemmeNet mentoring program has been established. Its objective is the sharing of knowledge between competent female academics and female junior researchers in the form of mentoring partnerships. More than 300 mentors from Germany, England, France, Spain, the USA and Japan provide expertise on a voluntary basis and advise on issues regarding career planning and work-life balance.
Equal Opportunities as a Research Topic at the Institute
Family and social policy measures are also focal topics of research at the Institute (see publications below). The topics of professional equality and of reconciliation of family and work, for example, have been examined for many years. In this context, the task is to not only support mothers and fathers, but to provide helpful options to caregivers in general.
Equal Opportunity Plan
There is the possibility to be offered childcare in crèches (for under 3-year olds) and kindergarten places (3 – 6-year olds); parts of the costs are borne by the Max Planck Society (MPS). Staff and academics working at the MPI for Social Law and Social Policy can also make use of this family service provided by pme. The agency assists with the search for caregivers or for a kindergarten place, and helps with the provision of “emergency” care if a caregiver is ill. Moreover, pme provides orientation aid for older relatives that are dependent on care services. Expenses incurred for counselling and placement/intermediary services are borne by the MPS. Payment for the actual provision of care is made directly to the caregiver or the (care) facility by the families who require the respective service.