Equal Opportunities

Gender Equality at the MWF Delhi

MWF Delhi promotes gender equality in the workplace and actively supports staff who have caring responsibilities. The principle of gender mainstreaming is applied consistently in all areas, informed by the provisions of the German Federal Act on Gender Equality in the Federal Administration and the Equal Opportunities Strategy of the Max Weber Foundation (MWS), of which the MWF Delhi is a constituent part.

A Gender Equality Officer works closely with management to ensure compliance with the law. She takes part in recruitment processes, helps management consider the potentially different effects of administrative measures on women and men, and generally raises awareness of equality issues. This includes combating any form of discrimination on grounds of gender and fostering a climate of zero tolerance for workplace bullying and sexual harassment. The Gender Equality Officer supports and advises individual colleagues who experience any of the above. In questions of work-life balance, she negotiates general policies with management, but may also negotiate specific adjustments to working conditions on behalf of individual colleagues.

In its recruitment processes, the MWF Delhi strives to reduce any existing gender imbalance, ensure that female applicants get a fair hearing, and make certain that slower career progression or gaps in CVs due to family commitments are not detrimental to their applications. If a decision is to be made between a male and a female applicant with equal qualifications, the female applicant will be preferred in areas of existing gender imbalance. The MWF Delhi also aims for diversity within hiring committees. Guarding against gender imbalance is similarly important in the selection of scholarship recipients and interns, as well as speakers and chairs at conferences, panel discussions, and seminar lectures.

The MWF Delhi strives to be a family-friendly employer and has a workplace agreement on flexible working hours. Some (limited) opportunities for mobile working are offered to staff with caring responsibilities whose needs cannot be met through flexible hours. Training sessions and events are scheduled during normal office hours where possible. The MWF Delhi can cover the cost of additional care incurred during business trips or out-of-hours training. Parents with children under the age of one are generally excused from evening duties. These family-friendly policies apply to all staff. 

MWF Delhi takes its moral responsibility and legal obligation to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace very seriously. We will investigate every reported incident of sexual harassment, and adopt adequate, necessary, and appropriate measures to penalize these infringements and protect those affected as well as other employees against further aggression and harassment. In compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2013), we have in place an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) tasked with implementing preventative measures aimed at raising awareness among staff members to deal with the following:

  • how to handle incidents of sexual harassment
  • encouraging staff to openly address incidents whenever they occur
  • complaints mechanism for reporting incidents
  • conducting training sessions for staff to understand and prevent sexual harassment

The ICC currently comprises of:

  • Dr. Debarati Bagchi, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, MWF Delhi (Presiding Officer)
  • Dr. Samprati Pani, Research Fellow, MWF Delhi
  • Ms. Deepanwita Dutta, Administrative Officer, MWF Delhi
  • Ms. Anna Maria Boss, Head Librarian, German Historical Institute, Washington
  • Ms. Ratna Appnender, Advocate (External Member)

Gender Equality at the Max Weber Foundation

The Gender Equality Officer is appointed for the whole of the Max Weber Foundation, of which the MWF Delhi is a constituent Institute. In accordance with Para. 20 of the Foundation’s statute, a Gender Equality Officer and a Deputy are elected every four years by all female staff. Their responsibilities derive from the provisions of the German Federal Act on Gender Equality in the Federal Administration. The Gender Equality Officer at the Foundation is supported by and works closely with local representatives in the Institutes and at the Central Office, who are nominated by the Gender Equality Officer and appointed by the respective chief officer. These representatives fulfil some of the duties of the Gender Equality Officer locally, but the Gender Equality Officer remains responsible for gender equality work at all Institutes and the Central Office.

The Gender Equality Officer participates in the compilation and implementation of the Foundations’s Equal Opportunities Strategy, which provides gender-related statistical analysis of the Foundation workforce and sets out specific targets to improve gender equality in the Foundation over a four-year term. This includes an evaluation of measures taken in the previous four-year period. The current strategy runs from 2022 to 2025. The Gender Equality Officer is a non-voting standing invitee with the right to speak at the biannual meetings of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

The current Gender Equality Officer is Anna Maria Boss (German Historical Institute Washington). Her deputy is Dr Annika Wienert (Max Weber Stiftung Central Office). Their current term of office ends in November 2026The locally assigned deputy to the Gender Equality Officer is Deepanwita Dutta (MWF Delhi).


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