Gender in Teaching (GiL):
Gender in Teaching (GiL) is the first project in Austria to address the connection between gender and two specific disciplines at a university of technology (Electrical Engineering and Technical Physics) at length. The aims were to raise awareness on different levels, to develop specific recommendations for action to be taken in order to incorporate gender in teaching and to work towards bringing about change. Whilst other projects often work on the premise that women are lacking somehow, GiL was intended to identify and explain that a university of technology can be made to appear more appealing to women (and a lot of men, too) if structural adjustments and changes to the culture within subject areas are made.
• To shed light on existing gender relations at TU Wien
• To forge a link between gender and Electrical Engineering and Technical Physics
• To develop measures for creating study induction phases, presenting externally and actively
changing the culture within subject areas
• To come up with recommended actions for teaching staff with a view to incorporating results from scientific
research into teaching staff's practical work and thereby encourage a more gender-neutral approach to didactics
• To make the issue of gender a permanent part of TU Wien
The GiL project was run by the Center for Promotion of Women and Gender Studies at TU Wien (now: the Gender Competence department) in collaboration with KnollSzalai, a consulting office for landscape planning and management consultancy between October 2005 and December 2007. Funding for the GiL project was awarded as part of the ‘Equality’ project, a combination of measures proposed to the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research by the Rector’s Office of TU Wien. The aims were to increase the number of young female scientists and to significantly improve women’s prospects in embarking upon a (scientific) career.
fFORTE WIT – Women in Technology:
The fFORTE WIT – Women in Technology women’s support project focused on female PhD students, university students, pupils and young scientists. The aims were to increase the number of female students and scientific staff at the TU and to lower the drop-out rate for female students.
The project revolved around a female PhD students’ college and measures intended to offer career support. Eight female PhD students were employed at the college as university assistants (two from each of the four participating departments – Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry) with a contract for 25 hours per week for four years. The requirements were a high-quality curriculum and compulsory participation in WIT activities.
The career support measures included:
• The TUwas! initiatives for female students, and young scientists along with faculty members
• The techNIKE workshops for female pupils, students and collaboration partners
• Online mentoring for female pupils and students
• The TU!Mentoring group mentoring scheme for female students and scientists
• Initiatives and activities relating to public relations and networking
The creation of a cross-faculty network was of particular interest, as it brought additional benefits to the project and those involved owing to the dynamic nature and broad spectrum of the initiatives and offerings. The involvement of students, scientists and employees – of both genders – at TU Wien along with external collaboration partners impacted positively upon the understanding of the need for measures in support of women. This raised the awareness of everyone involved in the project, initiating plenty of discussions relating to the project itself and its effects. The combination of measures eased the route to be taken by women and girls to access the world of technology, thereby giving women a helping hand in their scientific and technical careers. Measures supporting women in this way are crucial in creating a concept of sustainability of networks and structures with the aim of eliminating discrimination. But they are not the only step that needs to be taken.
fFORTE WIT – Women in Technology was a joint initiative between TU Wien and the fFORTE programme at the Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF). It ran between 2008 and 2012.
The CHANGES project gave 20 female TU students practical guidance as they made the transition from studying to embarking upon their professional careers. Two companies (BIOENERGY 2020+ and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology) were involved to give women the chance to find out more about a wide range of potential areas of activity within the world of research. As part of the project, they completed research work for their studies at the two participating companies, where they had the chance to tackle pre-defined research questions and projects or even come up with their own areas for exploration. Short (summer) internships, bachelor dissertations, six-month thesis projects and longer dissertation posts were all options available.
The students also had access to a packed supporting programme including trips, seminars and coaching alongside the funding assessment centre and mentoring scheme. The aim was for them to identify their dream jobs and to find out what female TU graduates need to bear in mind if they are serious about securing a job that requires specific qualifications. The project was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), starting in October 2010 and ending in September 2012.