Gender Diversity

March 2023

Program to promote gender diversity

This program is a follow-up on the report by the departmental Gender Diversity Commission, Gender bias at Department of Political Science: Problem diagnosis and recommendations, and additional initiatives related to recruitment.

The Department of Political Science, Aarhus University is devoted to increasing gender diversity. We have close to a 50/50 distribution of male and female students, so the low share of female researchers suggests that we miss out on talent and ideas. Diversity in staff is crucial for research as well as teaching quality and variety. Over the coming years, the Department will therefore implement a number of different measures. The program will be adjusted as we obtain results, experience, and inspiration based on the first initiatives.

This page describes the goals of the program, the principles for implementing the suggested measures, and the specific measures.


  • The department will pursue an understanding of scientific excellence with emphasis on quality and originality.
  • The department aims to increase departmental diversity, particularly in relation to the gender balance.
  • The department aims to stop the “leaking pipeline”. This entails maintaining and improving the share of the least represented gender from one level to the next in AU’s recruitment structure.
  • The department aims to promote diversity in terms of research questions, approaches, and methods.
  • The department aims to promote a sound work-life balance and to be a family-friendly work place in order to attract and maintain a diverse group of employees.

Principles for implementing measures

  • Initiatives will be monitored and evaluated on a continuous basis.
  • The program will be revised every second year.
  • The program respects all regulations on hiring public personnel including the Ministry of Education and Science’s executive order on university personnel (BEK nr 242 af 13/03/2012) and the law on gender equality (LBK nr 1147 af 03/07/2020).


The suggested measures below align with recommendations of the Gender Diversity Committee report focused on measures for the retention of talented scholars of all genders at the department. These measures relate to transparency, work-life balance, and work culture. Further, the program includes measures regarding recruitment.


The Gender Diversity Commission suggested more transparency to increase awareness and monitoring of the development.

The department will publish an annual report on:

  • gender distribution in all current positions
  • gender distribution of applicants, shortlisted applicants, qualified applicants, applicants offered a position, and hired applicants for teaching assistants, PhDs, postdocs, assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors
  • gender distribution of assessment committee members for positions and PhD dissertations
  • hiring criteria as they appear in calls

The first report will be released by February each year after 2023, first time in April 2023.

Work-life balance and family-friendly policies

The Gender Diversity Committee documented that work-life balance and family life issues are crucial for well-being and motivation as a researcher.

  • A reduction in teaching load for parental leave will multiply leave periods of 3 months and over by 1.5 to compensate for the stop-go costs of entering and exiting parental leave (starting March 2023). A 3-month parental leave would have reduced the teaching load by 2.25 K according to the old rules whereas the new rules offer a compensation of 3.37 K. Correspondingly, 6 months of leave increases from 4.5 to 6.75 K and 9 months leave from 6.75 K to 10.13 K. Does not apply to PhD students, where teaching is part of the education.
  • The financial support from the department to PhDs bringing their family (partner and/or children) on their stay abroad will be increased by 50 percent (9,000 DKK per month for PhD bringing family on research stay) (starting March 2023).
  • Options for part-time employment in VIP positions for employees with children. For PhDs, this depends on decisions at the PhD School. For postdocs and co-financed assistant professors, this must be negotiated with the project owner. For others, it must be negotiated with the department head (starting January 2023).
  • Parents have the right to two care-days (“omsorgsdage”) per child per year, including the year the child turns 7. The contract for non-tenured staff will be extended by the number of earned care-days. For PhD students, this solution will be promoted in the PhD school (starting for postdocs and assistant professors January 2023).
  • The management group will be aware that departmental assignments that are not compensated by K-reduction or wage increases should be distributed fairly between the genders.


Workplace culture

The Gender Diversity Committee identified a research hierarchy that discourages and demotivates some researchers.

The department will:

  • communicate diversity in terms of research questions, approaches, and methods on the department’s home page (update ready by April 2023)
  • initiate an ongoing discussion of how excellence can be achieved and documented within and across subdisciplines of political science (first step is department day April 28, 2023)
  • reformulate requirements in calls for all positions and instruct assessment committees to emphasize quality and originality of research (starting from August calls 2023)
  • formulate and institutionalize dialogue on codex for recognition and constructive feedback (already initiated – institutionalization starting 2023)

Earmarked initiatives

The Gender Diversity Committee suggested earmarked initiatives to promote careers of least represented gender.

  • The department will promote national diversity initiatives, such as the Inge Lehmann program, by organizing an info and idea workshop (starting spring 2023).
  • The department will support successful Inge Lehmann applications by postdocs/assistant professors by extending their contract by 6 months without teaching obligations.


Our experience with and investigations of gender diversity in academia suggest that persuading more female scholars to apply at all position levels is an important challenge.

The department will:

  • Increase its efforts to recruit employees from a diverse group of applicants by encouraging diversity among our own students, employees, and outside the department.
  • Establish a search list for the least represented gender scholars to be used when opening a call (starting for calls above PhD level in 2023).
  • Take initiatives to increase diversity among teaching assistants. Encourage men and women to apply (starting for call for fall semester 2023).
  • Formulate statement on conditions and support for bringing family to Aarhus that can be circulated and used when advertising jobs at the department. This includes information about life as a family in Aarhus and support in finding relevant employment for spouses (starting for August calls 2023).
  • Establish a mentor for new associate professors who are not familiar with the department (starting February 2023).
  • Encourage holders of external funding to consider diversity when hiring postdocs, including providing information on diversity for the annual report (starting March 2023).