Equal opportunities sums up the concept that everbody deserves equal opportunities to take part in society, specifically equal access to careers and professions. To achieve this, structural barriers need to be taken down and awareness needs to be raised.

Coaching is a recognized and established form of consulting, where teams or single persons in different professional situations are supported in assessing their situation, as well as defining and achieving their goals.

Diversity encompasses the manifold varieties of backgrounds and attributes of humans and groups. The law recognizes explicitly sex as well as gender, ethnic background, religion and world-view, physical or cognitive disability, age and sexual identity. Additional individual or group specific attributes such as educational background can be included in a wider concept of diversity.

Glass ceiling describes a barrier mostly faced by women in their careers. This invisible boundary is especially notable when women are barred from advancing to higher positions or in spite of equal or higher qualification are surpassed by men. This is mostly caused by lack of access to (informal) networks and stereotype, partly unconscious biases on the part of the decision-makers.

Men and women have equal rights by law, coded in the German constitution (Art. 3, Abs. 2 GG) as: “Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.”

Research Training Groups are implemented by the universities to promote early career researchers, funded by the German Research Association (DFG). Their key emphasis is on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research programme and a structured training strategy.

The model was part of the “Research-oriented Standards on Gender Equality” by the DFG. It helps calculating targets for proportions of female researchers for each career levels by evaluating the existing percentages on the previous level.

The proportion of women decreases with each career level in academia. This so called “leaky pipeline” is a significant drain of scientific potential and points to a persistent structural inequality of men and women.

Mentoring is a well-established instrument for human resource development in corporations, universities and other organizations. It is set up to transfer valuable expertise and informal knowledge from a person with experience (mentor) to a newcomer (mentee).

Raising awareness is aimed at recognizing structural inequalities and one’s own stereotypes or biases in order to establish a new approach within a field of work and research.

Collaborative Research Centres are long-term, DFG-funded and university-based research institutions, established for up to 12 years, in which researchers work together within a multidisciplinary research programme.

A CRC-TRR is a DFG-funded collaborative research centre (CRC) based in several universities.

Reconciling family life with a scientific career means to support researchers of all genders and in all levels of their career with different measures and opportunities for family care-work in order to facilitate the realization of their academic goals.