Standards, Guidelines and Quality Assurance for Gender Equality in Academia


What can I find in INKA?

INKA presents a wide range of exemplary real-life models from German higher education institutions and non-university research institutions in a searchable database format. Making gender equality a sustainable reality in the research community requires a comprehensive concept for gender justice and increasing the proportion of women at all levels of academia. INKA provides a structured information base for all research institutions and in particular gender equality officers, showcasing ways in which gender equality concepts can be implemented and refined in practice. It provides you with ideas and inspiration for the design of your gender equality objectives or policies. It reveals the latest developments and trends in gender equality at German higher education institutions and research institutions. Information about searching in INKA, the different online views and output formats can be found here.

What kind of models are included in INKA? 

GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS) researches and checks the gender equality measures contained in INKA and makes the final decision on inclusion in the database. Research is based on the ranking of higher education institutions by gender aspects, which is published every two years by Dr. Andrea Löther, Deputy Director of CEWS, thus constituting a very up-to-date basis for research. Measures undertaken by higher education institutions, which are classified in ranking groups one to four, are taken into account. Measures undertaken by non-university research institutions are not researched independently. Only measures that are independently reported by the research institutions are checked.

What are similar measures?

As well as the selected models, INKA includes similar measures to illustrate the breadth of gender equality measures. Similar measures are measures which are judged to be of a high enough quality to be added to the database, but not of the same exemplary character as the selected models. They are included to complement the selected models they are linked to. They appear with the name of the institution, title and link to the measure and can be found with the keyword search using the name and/or location of the higher education institution or non-university research institution.

What kind of information about a model does the database contain?

To present a model in sufficient detail, the following information is included in INKA:

  • Information about the leading institution: Name, category and federal state of the higher education institution or non-university research institution, responsible department and contact details (switchboard number, e-mail address of department and website of the research institution).
  • Information about the measure itself: Classification in defined topics and action areas, target groups and subject groups, general description of the measure (content, structure, time frame etc.), description of goals, results and effectiveness of the measure, cooperations and networks, link/URL.

If there are any similar measures in the database, these are also shown along with the title, name of the institution and link/URL.

This information is shown in the detailed view.

The quick view shows only the title of the model, the name of the institution, the classification in the defined topics and action areas, target groups and subject groups, if applicable the name of the higher education institution or research institution that offers a similar measure, and the goals of the model.

In the English version, the following information is displayed in the quick view: Title of the model, name of the institution, institution type, thematic category, target groups and subject groups, if applicable name of the institution offering a similar measure. The detailed view also includes the following information: Description of the measure, results and effectiveness, leading institution (name, type of institution, federal state), responsible area with e-mail address, link to institution, link to measure, if applicable similar measure with title and link. Links to pages in German are identified by a corresponding symbol.

The measure descriptions are written by GESIS and reviewed once a year to ensure they are still up to date.

What are “innovative models”?

INKA allows you to search for particularly outstanding models. These models differ from the rest in that they address current problems or offer new and innovative approaches. By selecting “Innovative models” you can limit the results to this category of models. These models are indicated by a blue flag.

As part of the ongoing quality assurance process, the status “innovative model” may be removed. If this happens, the relevant institution will be notified.

To further narrow down your results you can combine various criteria. For example, in addition to the classifications and action areas under “Select by topic” or a search term, you can select (several) different institution types, target groups, subject groups and/or federal states. The subject groups of humanities and social sciences, life sciences, natural sciences and engineering sciences correspond to the DFG's classification system.

How can I search for measures?

To facilitate your search for models and similar measures in the INKA there are three filters, which can be combined if required. Under “Select by topic” there are various classifications and action areas. The search box allows you to enter specific words. “Narrow down search” allows you to further specify the categories you are interested in.

A summary of the selected options appears above the list of results. You can use this to remove individual filters again.

How does the select function work?

“Select by topic” allows you to search for particular classifications and action areas. You can search for the following classifications:

  • Staff / early career researchers
  • Work / life balance
  • Research / academic culture
  • Organizational development
  • Gender in research & teaching
  • Quality assurance

Each of these classifications includes various action areas. When you have selected a classification you can then select one or more action areas.

How does the search function work?

Here you can enter one or more terms to search the INKA. Entering several terms will produce a longer list of results because the search terms are connected by the logical operator OR. So searching for “Mentoring Postdoc” will generate hits for both “Mentoring” and “Postdoc”.

However, you can also specify your own logical links. The available options are:

  • Logical operators: AND, OR and NOT
  • Brackets for grouping
  • Truncation with *
  • Exact phrases with quotation marks

Entering the name of a measure that contains punctuation marks, numbers, etc. (e.g. “mea*sure”) may not produce the desired result in the keyword search. This is because certain characters have a function in the keyword search (for example, * is used to truncate a search term).

How can I further narrow down the selection and/or search?

To further narrow down your results you can combine various criteria. For example, in addition to the classifications and action areas under “Select by topic” or a search term, you can select target groups, subject groups and/or states.

The humanities and social sciences, life sciences, natural sciences and engineering sciences disciplines correspond to the DFG's classification system.

How can I remove a filter?

If you want to deactivate a filter or filters, there are three ways of doing this:

  1. Clicking on “Start new search” will remove all filters.
  2. You can remove individual filters from the list of all selected filters above the list of results by clicking on the plus sign.
  3. You can also remove filters by clicking again in the column on the left where you first selected them.

How does the list of results work?

If no filters are selected, all models are shown in the list of results. When you select a filter or enter a search term, the list of results is narrowed down.

You can view the results one page at a time. You can also specify how many results are shown on one page and how they are sorted. You can sort by title or date and in ascending or descending order.

How can I view the detailed information about a model?

In the list of results you can click on the title of a model to open a detailed description of the measure. At the end of the detailed information is a link which allows you to open the detailed view in a new window or tab, depending on your browser setting.

How can I create a link to a model?

The link to the detailed view in a separate window does not change, so it can be used as a permanent link, for example on your website. You can use this URL to create a link to your model on your institution's website.

You can download the following logo and use it on your homepage to advertise your model in INKA.

INKA logo (10.06 kB)

If you’re using the logo, please inform us by sending an e-mail to

How to view a model in a separate window and thus the corresponding URL is described under “How can I view the detailed information about a model?”.

How can I propose a model for inclusion in INKA?

Proposals for gender equality measures that have been tested at your institution are essential to INKA. New measures and information about completed measures keep INKA up to date and interesting. Gender equality officers at higher education institutions and non-university research institutions in Germany are encouraged to actively submit examples of relevant measures using the “Proposal form” section. Here you will find a form and guidelines on submitting measures.

First the proposal is checked. If there are any questions or the information provided is incomplete, it is returned for revision. After the proposal has been checked, GESIS decides whether to include it or not. You will be notified as to whether your proposal was accepted or not.

If the decision is positive, the measure will be translated into English and then added to INKA in both German and English. INKA is updated on a quarterly basis, so it may take up to three months before a selected model becomes available online. You will receive a message from GESIS when your measure is available online. GESIS reserves the right to remove models again or change their status if necessary. You will be notified if this happens.

What are the minimum requirements for proposing a measure?

Gender equality measures put forward for inclusion in INKA must satisfy the following criteria:

  • All information given as part of the description must be available online and therefore verifiable.
  • The e-mail address provided must be a neutral one (not a personal address) to ensure its continued validity. This address will be published in the detailed description of the model.
  • All fields marked with * are mandatory fields and must be completed.

What criteria are used to select measures?

Gender equality measures included in INKA go through a quality-assured selection process. The aim is to showcase the variety of tested and innovative real-life examples and make them accessible in a searchable database.

Selection is based upon a summary assessment process, for which measures have been identified from publicly accessible sources. GESIS has prepared and categorized these sources. To this extent the researched gender equality measures are not evaluated, but analyzed and appraised on the basis of the available information.

The key selection criteria are, where apparent:

  • The coherence of the concept
  • The innovative character or long-term testing of the measure
  • Accessible documentary evidence of quality assurance (monitoring, reports, evaluations etc.)
  • The structural framework (integration in a wider concept, link-in within the institution, implementation etc.).

A separate quality assurance concept was designed for non-university research institutions due to the lack of comparability with higher education institutions. It is based on the concept for higher education institutions but it has been adapted and scaled back. The measures undertaken by research institutions are therefore only compared with one another and not with the previously added measures undertaken by higher education institutions.

The presentation of an institution's gender equality activities on the web and the scope of published information about the assessment criteria listed above also play an important role. The content of INKA is selected according to the principle of “variety, not bulk”.

The appraisal process also incorporates thematic clusters, which group together measures that are thematically similar. Measures within a cluster are appraised and weighted in a separate assessment process. For example, the Mentoring cluster is subject to the quality standards of Forum Mentoring, such as the suitability of mentoring, institutional integration, forms of mentoring, selection process and the content of the mentoring process. Established quality standards also apply in other clusters, for example the standards of Dual Career Netzwerk Deutschland.

What kind of browser do I need?

The site programming is based on CSS validated to W3C standards, which can be used with standard browsers (such as Firefox, Chrome, Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer) in the standard configuration (CSS and JavaScript enabled) without adaptations.

Do I need JavaScript?

Yes. However, in the interests of accessibility the user interface has been designed to allow operation without a mouse. To make any changes to the search you must activate a button or explicitly confirm a link.

What software is used for INKA?

INKA is based solely on open source software.

  • Management and presentation of gender equality measures: DSpace, version 5.7
  • Search information: jQuery UI
  • Highlighting of search terms in list of results: jQuery Highlight Plugin

Is INKA fully accessible?

INKA offers a high level of accessibility and intuitive usability. The level of accessibility has been verified by a BITV test and scored 97.25 out of 100 points.

It features the following elements, which comply with the Ordinance on Accessible Information Technology (BITV) introduced in Germany on 24 July 2002:

INKA supports readability through high contrast font and the option of controlling the font size. A clear structure is achieved through the separation of content and design and the consistent identification of hyperlinks.


Funding number: 01FP1901

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