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Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW) is the education sector union affiliated to the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). The starting point in Germany is as follows: deficiencies in career patterns in higher education and research and the negative conditions these create for achieving a work-life balance. A national strategy paper shows how to improve equal opportunities for the academic staff and work-life balance.


Members of the GEW are women and men, teachers, educators and researchers, working different types of schools, universities, academic and research institutions, in adult education, social and cultural work, vocational and language training or other forms of teaching. The GEW is a trade union for a professional community. The vast majority of our members are academics.

It is by far the biggest organisation in the education sector in Germany with 250,000 members. Trade union membership in the education sector ranges from 15 to 50 per cent, depending on the region and the teaching profession. GEW not only attends to the salaries and social interests of its members. As an education union we also play a vital role in campaigning and implementing education reforms.

Almost seventy per cent of the GEW’s members are women. The GEW has been working for years, through its policies on women and gender, to ensure that women are properly represented on its committees and in its activities.

Paper "The academic career: A daily adventure?" by Regina Weber

This paper deals specifically with the German situation concerning work-life balance and gender segregation in German higher education and research. It dwells on the particular mechanisms that shape career paths in the mentioned areas.

For the results of some national and international research concerning women in European universities, researchers and university teachers as parents and work-life balance see the links beneath.

National Strategy on the reform of personnel structure and gender equity

This paper reflects the catalogue of criteria for evaluating work-life balance and career patterns in the academic communities in Germany. It reflects the need for action to reform the personnel structure and career paths, to reach gender equality in the academic community and family-friendly higher education and research institutions.

Good practice

During the final workshop of the partnership we met the chief gender equality officer and the head of the family service of the Freie Universität Berlin. For more information see the homepages of both institutions.

European Law

Reconciliation of work and family life is a part of Work-Life Balance. In the EU Gender Equality Principles reconciliation has originally been addressed as part of the gender equality issue. There is a framework of rights for parents, of pregnant workers and care-givers in member states. Maria Wersig informs about the EU reconciliation framework, the recent developments, problems and challenges.