Information on equal opportunities within the max planck society

In focus: equal opportunities

The Max Planck Society believes in talent, creativity and passion! They support their employees regardless of their sex, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, cultural background or sexual identity, because this variety is what provides the basis of outstanding research work achived at more than 80 Max Planck institutes.

To challenge and support talents and to support the professional development of their employees is the strategic goal of Max Planck Society. The Max Planck Society

  • therefore relies on equal opportunities for all, implementation of equal oriented targets and the provision of attractive framework conditions.
  • is focused on continuated career development, with special focus on female scientists, because they are still underrepresented on management level and often have not so clear future perspectives as their male colleagues.
  • is committed to persuit the structured supervision of young scientists, in order to help them with the implementation of their personal career plans.
  • aims to build bridges to improve reconciliation of family, leisure and work and to increase the number of women in leading positions.
  • has made a self-commitment: Fixed occupation quotas shall increase the number of women in leading positions on three different remuneration layers. Occupation quotas indicate the ratio in which vacancies are to be filled by women .

The Max Planck Society offers:

  • Childcare places in the home and in industry-wide day-care centres; contract with the service company "pme Familienservice" to arrange care (including for the elderly); financial subsidies for childcare at conferences
  • Advanced education activities
  • Dual-Career-Service: help and care facilities for dual-career scientist couples
  • Possibilities of part-time-working and teleworking
  • Central equal opportunities officer as well as local officers at institutes
  • Guide for a constructive interface between male and female scientists
  • Max Planck Institutes take part at the German wide Girls´Day event, holiday programs for girls, student laboratories, experiments for children not yet of school age

especially for female scientists:

  • W3 Programme for the Advancement of Outstanding Female Scientists in senior positions
  • Minerva-FemmeNet: a Mentoring network for female doctoral students and diploma students, for postdoctoral students and those working on lecturing qualifications
  • Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg: a netzwork for female scientists after their postdoc phase, tied to the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section
  • Option for female scientists to extend a fixed term contract by six months to allow for pregnancy and childbirth
  • Career development: MPG offers for selected female scientists (Postdocs) to take part in the seminar program  "Sign up! Careerbuilding"
  • Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation: supports talented young female scientists with children
  • MPG uses the AcademiaNet database: This database with profiles of excellent female researchers from all disciplines recognizes women. It can be used from research institutions and committies, journalists and conference organizers. Also it can be used from women as networking platform.
  • The Pilot project Minerva Fast Track of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section offers a chance of postdoctoral long term career planing to outstanding female scientists. A funding for max. three years directly after dissertation or after the frist postdoc with the aim to apply for Max Planck Research Group Leader afterwards.
  • We are partners in the "National Pact for Women in MINT careers" initiated by the German Federal Government in cooperation with the political, economic, scientific and media sectors.

equal opportunities officer

On a special mission: the equal opportunities officer

The Max Planck Society has a Central Equal Opportunities officer who ensures that the standard principles of equal opportunities in public administration are put into practice. The commissioner is not hampered by red tape and keeps in touch with the Max Planck Institutes where female employees select their own equal opportunities officer. These individuals are contacts for female members of staff in all matters of professional promotion and help to eliminate any discrimination. They "are involved in all personnel, organisational and social measures affecting equal opportunities for men and women, balancing of family and gainful employment, and protection against sexual harassment in the workplace".

The Central Equal Opportunities Commissioner and her local colleagues meet once a year for an exchange of views and experiences; external male and female consultants are invited to these conferences to give presentations on a broad range of subjects in equal opportunities policy, and to also report on developments in neighbouring countries in the European Research Area.

Personal development

An instruction guide for Max Planck

The Working Party for the Promotion of Female Scientists has drawn up a guide to provide a constructive interface for female scientists and their female colleagues. It is given to each newly-appointed male scientist and each newly-appointed female scientist, and is divided into three parts. First of all, it looks at the backgrounds for discrimination of men and women in the science world. Then it lists examples of situations in which women could feel discriminated against or unfairly treated, with the ultimate aim of making concrete proposals for how being treated differently can be avoided.

How can we make it better?

  • Committing to memory the names of female scientists by achievement criteria
  • Avoiding stereotypes in personal assessment
  • Inviting applications when filling positions and using databases to identify male/female scientists with certain profiles
  • Giving junior female scientists specific opportunities to heighten their profile


Download: Wording of the Guide (German only)