Equal Opportunities Office

Equal Opportunities Office

In a diverse workplace culture, the development and monitoring of equal opportunities measures has to be equally diverse. The Max Planck Society's  offers and programmes for the support of gender equality are various and they are tailored to the particular requirements of science and to the needs of scientists.

Our goal is to guarantee a uniformly high level of gender equality work throughout the Max Planck Society and while preserving their professional and cultural differences.  The Central Gender Equality Office provides counselling for all persons, levels, functions, groups, and committees. Our institutes implement and monitor measures tailored to their specific needs.
The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics understands the term "gender awareness" as the knowledge and understanding of differences in the roles and relationships between all genders, especially at the workplace. This includes a focus on persons who do not feel represented by the classical male-female dichotomy.

Focus on equal opportunity

We understand  "equal opportunities" as equal opportunities for all genders, based on our belief  that excellent research is only possible in an environment in which all parties involved can develop freely. Each colleague is met with the same respect and in which it is possible for everyone to achieve excellent results. For this, it is essential to ensure the reconciliation of career and family life and to specifically support the careers of female researchers. Furthermore, we are committed to using gender sensitive language.

Reconciliation of work and family life

Flexible work times is considered to be particularly family-friendly and reduces pressure on employees. At our institute, start and end of the daily worktime are flexible. This provides freedom to take care of personal errands and children or dependants in need of care.
Moreover, flexibility in working from home is a good instrument for a good work-life-balance. The institute handles regulations regarding mobile working at an individual case basis. This proved effective also during the pandemic when many employees were given the option to work from home. We also introduced family-friendly restrictions on the time of work-related events corresponding to usual core childcare hours.
Since professional challenges often compete with other interests of private and family-related nature, we also introduced a family office along with our welcome office in January 2020, which forms an interface between the office of human resources and gender equality work. It is available to all employees for information and advice and a service for families in a comprehensive sense.

Career support for female scientists

Currently, about one third of the Institute's employees are female and about two thirds are male. We are striving to raise the percentage of women wherever they are underrepresented, especially in leading positions.
The Max Planck Society offers numerous measures within the scientific area to support female scientists. Information on specific calls or career building programmes for female scientists is provided to all prospective candidates. Further, applications are actively supported.

Further offers: conflict resolution and mental health

Alongside the equal opportunities officers, the institute offers a variety of contact points where employees can find support:
The ombudsperson for good scientific practice, a representative for employees with severe disabilities, and the PhD and PostDoc representatives take care of respective concerns of employees.
Apart from our internal contact points we also offer external help. There are several points of contact within the Max Planck Society such as the mediation advisors, the compliance officers and legal consultants. Contacts outside the Max Planck Society are the Employee and Manager Assistance Program (EMAP) and the B.A.D.
EMAP offers fast and anonymous support in crises, professional, health and personal issues and challenges that affect people's work. This service is available free of charge. The B.A.D specialized in occupational healthcare and health management and also provides psychosocial consultation to all employees of the institute.
Many of our employees have also been trained as psychological first aiders. They are also availabe for consultations and are bound by confidentiality.

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