Career Promotion and Networking of Early-Career Women Researchers


From Undergraduate to Postdoc


Kaja Köhnle © Copyright: Heike Lachmann


Kaja Köhnle

Project Coordinator, Equal Opportunities Advisor


+49 241 80-96569




December 2020 until September 2024


Female Professors Program III

The Project

The goal of the Career Promotion and Networking of Early-Career Women Researchers project is to increase equal opportunities at RWTH Aachen University. Women are still significantly underrepresented in all status groups of academic careers at RWTH. By promoting networking among the status groups, women are to be strengthened and supported in their career opportunities.

The project focuses on the transitional phases between the different career stages: the transition between Bachelor's and Master's, Master's and doctorate, and doctorate and habilitation or postdoc phase. The loss of qualified women in these phases is also known as the "leaky pipeline". The project aims to counteract this effect through workshops, lectures, and coaching.

Intersectional topics also feature in this project. Therefore, in the course of the project, we would like to deal with the topics of socio-cultural origin and prevailing body norms, among others. This is intended to show how different features of discrimination can interact and influence the educational success of young women researchers.


Women Career Lunch at RWTH

In several modules, the Women Career Lunch offers an insight into the multifaceted topic of doctoral studies and promotes networking with other women students and professors. The goal is for women master's students to make a conscious career decision for or against pursuing a doctorate.

Initiated by Professor Erika Ábraháms and supported by the project “Career Promotion and Networking of Early-Career Women Researchers”, the Women Career Lunch was implemented for the first time in the 2022 summer semester 2022 together with Professor Christina Büsing and Helen Bolke-Hermanns at the Department of Computer Science. The Women Career Lunch was designed in such a way that the module schedule and the associated questionnaire can easily be implemented in other departments – with little effort but to great effect.

In the winter semester 2022/2023, the project supported professors Christina Büsing and Maria Kateri in the implementation of the Women Career Lunch by the Department of Mathematics. In the 2023 summer semester, the Lunch was implemented at the Faculty of Architecture, in collaboration with Frederike Eyhoff and Birgit Schillak-Hammers.

The feedback so far has been very positive. The students felt well informed and thus in a position to make an optimal decision for their future career. They emphasized the great value of the informal exchange with their peers and the experienced women researchers. In 2022, the Women Career Lunch was awarded the Brigitte Gilles Prize.

The project “Career Promotion and Networking of Early-Career Women Researchers” is happy to support other departments in implementing the Women Career Lunch, tailoring it to the needs of the relevant disciplines.



Networks provide their members with information, offer feedback, and help members to get noted. A form of social capital, networks are an important success factor for career advancement. There are many interesting networks at RWTH Aachen University. We have compiled an overview for you on this web page. Perhaps there is a network that appeals to you and in which you would like to participate. Or would you like to establish a network yourself?

Faculty-Specific Career Development Opportunities and Networks With a Focus on Gender

Cross-Faculty Offerings and Networks With a Focus on Gender and Diversity