Greetings about the 25. Deutschen Physikerinnentagung
11.02.2021Greeting from the President of Technical University of Darmstadt for the 25th German Female Physicists’ Conference
Dear participants of the 25th German Female Physicists' Conference 2021,
I wish you a successful and inspiring event! In addition to the many opportunities for exciting professional input and stimulating discussions, please also take the opportunity to network with each other and across all career levels.
These networks are important: in addition to opportunities for professional exchange and cooperation in research projects, networks also help to professionalize and shape your own career - by sharing experiences and through collaborative learning.
Female students and scientists continue to be underrepresented in physics. We offer a wide range of information and mentoring opportunities to encourage female pupils to choose physics as a subject of study. We also support female students and scientists in their personal development and career paths through training and networking opportunities. The organization of the 25th German Female Physicists' Conference 2021 is a successful example of the activities the collaborative research centers at TU Darmstadt and University of Duisburg-Essen engage in to promote equal opportunities and gender equality. I would like to thank all those involved for their great commitment in organizing and designing this event.
In addition to concrete initiatives and programs, a culture change is needed. We need to overcome stereotypical ideas and attitudes, especially toward STEM subjects and professions, and counter unconscious biases at all levels of the education system. As a university, we also have a responsibility here, and must repeatedly emphasize that the diversity of our members is a valuable treasure. After all, new ideas and solutions are best developed when we bring together the variety of our experiences and perspectives.
Prof.’in Dr. Tanja Brühl
President of Technical University of Darmstadt
11.02.2021Greeting from the Vice-Rector for Research, Career Development and Science Transfer (University of Duisburg-Essen) for the 25th German Female Physicists’ Conference
Already for the 25th time, the “Deutsche Physikerinnentagung” (“German Female Physicists’ Conference”) provides female physicists from different disciplines and career stages with a forum for networking and professional exchange. The long history of this special conference format shows how important it still is to strengthen the position of women in physics. Female physicists are still significantly underrepresented in their field. This is clearly evident, for example, in the number of doctorates: As the annual surveys of the “Konferenz der Fachbereiche Physik“ (“Conference of Physics Departments”) document, the proportion of women in the completed PhD procedures in physics in Germany has been consistently well below 25 percent for many years. In addition, the vast majority of physics chairs in the country continue to be held by men.
It is therefore not surprising that female towering figures such as Marie Curie are still symbolic of the numerous hurdles that women often face in science. Despite the obvious progress in the social equality of women, far too many female researchers still share one of Curie’s life-defining fates: Even when they conduct demonstrably excellent research, female scientists all too often have to go to particularly great lengths in order to receive the recognition they deserve. Marie Curie, as is well known, had to experience this firsthand several times, even as a Nobel laureate. Her strong commitment to the promotion of female scientists was therefore by no means a mere coincidence.
For the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), the determined promotion of female scientists at all career stages is a central element of its mission statement. This is evidenced not only by the establishment of Germany’s very first prorectorate for diversity management in 2008, but also by a wide range of advisory, mentoring and support services aimed specifically at young female scientists. Almost half of the new tenure-track professorships created at the UDE as part of the so-called “WISNA-Program“ are held by women – even and especially in disciplines in which female scholars are usually not strongly represented. In addition, as part of the “Professorinnenprogramm” (“Program for Female Professors”) of the federal and state governments, the UDE has been a strong advocate for many years to continuously increase the proportion of women in initial appointments to W2 and W3 professorships. Also, in administration and science management at the UDE, central management tasks are increasingly being performed by women.
Against this background, I am very pleased that the “Arbeitskreis Chancengleichheit” (“Working Group on Equal Opportunities“) of the German Physical Society has chosen the UDE to host the 25th anniversary of the “German Female Physicists’ Conference”. Due to the pandemic, the conference can unfortunately only be held online. However, a look at the extensive and diverse conference program leaves no doubt that valuable discussion and networking opportunities can be created in this way as well. Not only will participants be able to exchange information about current research results, there will also be an extensive workshop program that offers professional support to both young and experienced physicists, especially for further career planning.
The conference is organized by the SFB 1242 “Non-equilibrium dynamics of condensed matter in the time domain” and the SFB/TRR 270 “Hysteresis design of magnetic materials for efficient energy conversion”. My sincere thanks go to the spokespersons and staff of both collaborative research centers for the excellent organization of this conference. I would also like to thank the German Physical Society, which initiated the “Deutsche Physikerinnentagung” in 1997 and provided intensive support to the organizers in the preparation of this year’s conference. I would also like to thank all those who have helped to make the conference a success as sponsors, speakers or workshop coaches, and who have thus made a significant contribution to increasing the visibility of women in physics.
Wishing you an inspiring conference
Prof. Dr. Dr. Dagmar Führer-Sakel
Vice-Rector for Research, Career Development and Science Transfer
(University of Duisburg-Essen)