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Equal Opportunities

Contact us if you have questions about hiring processes, about combining work and family life, with problems like discrimination or sexual harassment, or if you have questions about equal opportunities at HZB.

About Equal Opportunities at HZB

We work under the equal opportunities implementation agreement (Ausführungsvereinbarung Gleichstellung, in German) for research funded jointly by the German federal and the state ministries, which is in turn based on the federal equal opportunities law (Bundesgleichstellungsgesetz).

This implementation agreement is adapted for the HZB (ger) and agreed with its funding agencies. It provides rules for the election of equal opportunities commisioners, the aims of our work, our rights of information and involvement in processes etc. It is complemented by a Gender Equality Plan which contains current statistics, target quotas for women in science, as well as measures to implement the targets.

Equal Opportunities in the hiring process

If you are advertising a position you will be contacted by our secretary as soon as the advertisement is released online. She will tell you which equal opportunities commissioner is responsible for your position.

Please contact this person when the application deadline is over and before selecting candidates for interviews.

A matrix showing how each applicant fits the respective requirements of the advertised position is extremely helpful both for you and for us.

To compare scientific output use the "academic age", i.e. years since completion of the PhD minus times for child care, care of relatives, illness etc.


According to German law the following circumstances cannot be used as criteria in a hiring process:  any career breaks, reductions in working time or the demands on time due to childcare of other care of relatives, the income situation of the applicant's partner, or the intention to reduce working hours or take career breaks due to family demands.

Combining work and family life

HZB offers its employees a range of measures to improve the work life balance:

  • flexible working hours and flexi time balance
  • agreements about telecommuting and home office
  • family friendly meeting hours
  • the possibility to reduce working hours due to family demands
  • nursery places
  • counselling and family-related agency services (benefit@work)
  • Helmholtz-school holiday program

For more details please contact the personnel department's Office for Work and Life (OWL), the contact person is  Anja Seehrich.

In cases of discrimination or sexual harassment

In these cases there are several persons of trust you can contact, such as the equal opportunities commissioner (Gleichstellungsbeauftragte), the works council (Betriebsrat), the antidiscrimination commissioner (Antidiskriminierungsbeauftragte), the personnel department or your manager. Here is a full list of persons to contact in case of conflicts.

The equal opportunities commissioner has a duty to keep you information confidential. If you come to us with a complaint, we will first have a confidential meeting with you, and will discuss with you how to proceed.

A helpful brochure Leitfaden zum Thema sexuelle Belästigung (in German) can be found at the Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes (Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency).

Maternity and parental leave

The equal opportunity commissioner will support you if you have any questions or in cases of conflict. A good source of information about employment rules for the protection of pregnant woment and about parental leave is the personnel department's Office for Work and Life (OWL)  (contact person Anja Seehrich).

Here are some further links (mostly in German)

(Mentoring) programs for women

There are several programs for women accessible for HZB employees, either internal or external via Helmholtz or the Berlin Universities:

Program Target group What is it?
HZB-Akademikerinnen-Auslands-Anschlusstellen-programm (HZB-3A)
Women Scientists who have recently finished their PhD and want to work abroad for some time.

The HZB-3A-program (Akademikerinnen-Auslands-Anschlussstellen-Programm=follow up contract for woman scientists after a stay abroad) is meant give scientists employment continuity after a stay abroad, by offering a follow-up contract for up to two years. This additional job security is meant to encourage women to continue their scientific career and to make it easier to combine science and family life. The follow up contact is funded by HZB management.

Helmholtz-Mentoring-Programm "Helmholtz Advance"

Postdoctoral scientists (PhD roughly 2-5 years ago), and young employees from the administration or management who are interested in a leadership position.

The Helmholtz Advance Program offers one year of mentoring combined with additional training courses.


Profil-Mentoring Women scientists seeking a professorship (postdocs, young investigators, women who already have a "Habilitation" etc.)

The program helps participants with their career planning and prepares them for the leadership and management tasks of a professorship. It consists of mentoring combined with science specific seminars and strategic networking.