WEB Researching in the area of materials and processes and becoming a CHANGE agent for gender equalityTuesday (22.09.2020) 10:55 - 11:10 Z: Special Symposia I Part of:
Fraunhofer IFAM is a very diverse institute with many different research topics, which have one point of interest: The material. In all research areas, female scientists are concerned with advancing the respective topics and their work will be highlighted within this presentation. E.G. the activities in adhesion and interface research focus on optimization of surfaces, interfaces, coatings, and composite materials. One core competence is adhesive bonding dealing with development of effective joining of the same or different materials could be used to provide heat conduction, electrical insulation, sealing properties, and bridge dimensional variation. Regarding powder technology research is focused on processing of powder into components, including aspects of materials, shaping, tolerances, and specific component requirements. A further research topic is cost-effective energy storage offering a high energy density, improved performance, lifetime, and efficiency lies within the underlying active materials. IFAM is a technically oriented institute. Of the employees with an academic degree at project manager level, less than a quarter are women, but below this level, almost half of employees are female. The proportion of women at departmental and group leader level is even lower than at project management level. Obviously, the majority of staff at the institute is male, which becomes even more evident at the higher hierarchical levels. Taking part in the EU project CHANGE with the aim of supporting institutions in developing and implementing tailor-made gender equality plans gives the opportunity to improve equal opportunities. Since CHANGE started, a lot of expertise was build up. The first gender equality actions were implemented at IFAM and the involved employees became much more sensitive about inner-institutional gender inequality issues, and therefore gained a different perspective on the situation of women. This process is supported through mutual knowledge exchange with others. The involved staff suddenly become change agents within the institution, a new role that has to be simultaneously fulfilled to the researcher role. The fact that work as CHANGE agents is embedded in a funded EU project has given more importance to the role. Through a lively exchange, with the support of colleagues and a transfer agent, a person anchored in management who has committed himself to support CHANGE, the working situation at the IFAM will be improved for all gender.