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Diversity at the PHSG

The PHSG recognises and values the diversity of its staff and students and champions equal opportunities. It is particularly active in promoting gender equality and measures to better reconcile people’s family lives with their careers or studies.

Specialist Unit for Gender and Diversity

The role of the Specialist Unit for Gender and Diversity is to support the PHSG’s various bodies in their efforts to ensure equal opportunities. The unit creates informational materials, establishes an institutional framework, compiles internal guidelines, develops and implements projects and advises the President’s Office and other PHSG bodies and members on issues relating to diversity. It also maintains relations with other higher education institutions and networks.

2017–2020 action plan for equal opportunities

The Swiss government promotes equal opportunities within the scope of project-related contributions pursuant to Article 59 of the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector. The «Equal opportunity and university development» programme aims to improve the gender balance at institutions of higher education, and also to address other diversity-related issues within higher education. The programme defines three main areas of action:

  • Achieving equal opportunities within youth development and in career progression
  • Achieving equal opportunities with regard to people’s study and career choices; counteracting the shortage of skilled labour; eliminating stereotypes
  • Developing expertise within institutions of higher education in terms of promoting equal opportunities and diversity
  • With its 2017–2020 action plan for equal opportunities, the PHSG seeks to implement the aforementioned three areas of action. Its concrete intentions in this regard are as follows:
  • To champion the advancement of women in science and in management positions
  • To attract more men into the teaching profession
  • To provide students with a migration background with support in embarking on their professional careers
  • To promote gender-balanced teaching
  • To integrate gender monitoring into higher education management


The PHSG is committed to promoting the compatibility of private and professional life. It allows part-time employment for academic staff and administrative staff. Part-time employment or job sharing is also possible in management positions. Furthermore, it is flexible with regard to the choice of working days, attendance time and home office. Also important for the PHSG is the consideration of school vacations. There are no university appointments during this time. Finally, the PHSG provides privileged access to daycare places thanks to its partnership with Globi Kinderkrippen.

Attracting men into the teaching profession

The proportion of female teachers working at secondary school level I and below is markedly higher than that of male teachers. The younger children are, the less likely they are to be taught by men. The student numbers at the PHSG, too, reflect this situation. In the degree course for kindergarten and primary school teachers, 15% of students are male. In the course for secondary school level I, it rises to 35%. Through various projects, the PHSG aims to encourage more men to opt for a teacher training degree.

Studying with a disability

Compensating for disadvantages

The PHSG strives to provide the best possible support to its students and staff with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Its goal here is to ensure equal participation and equal access with regard to their jobs or study programmes. The PHSG facilitates equal participation for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses through measures to compensate for the disadvantages they encounter. 

Fitness for work

When choosing to study teaching, it is important for students to understand that fulfilling the fitness for study requirements does not necessarily mean that they will later fulfil the pertinent fitness for work requirements. The courses offered by the PHSG prepare students for roles as teachers within the compulsory education system or at vocational schools. Around one quarter of a teaching degree course is spent on practical assignments.

Before students with disabilities or chronic illnesses embark on a degree, the PHSG advises them on the topic of fitness for work. It helps the students clarify which PHSG degree courses make most sense in view of their individual career goals, and what type of compensation for disadvantages they then require.


International Lake Constance University – Working Group on Gender and Diversity

The Working Group on Gender and Diversity at the International Lake Constance University (Internationale Bodensee-Hochschule – IBH) seeks to expand the debate on gender equality and family friendliness at the IBH and in its surrounding regions, and, in doing so, to improve the study, work and research conditions for everyone there. The working group supports the structural integration of measures to promote greater gender equality and diversity. As such, it contributes significantly towards improving the quality of higher education institutions and to raising the profile of the network. 

Recommendations for incorporating gender equality and diversity into higher education development
The Working Group on Gender and Diversity at the IBH compiled a list of recommendations for incorporating gender equality and diversity into higher education development. The PHSG uses these recommendations as a guideline for its own activities.

Working Group on Gender/Equal Opportunities at the chamber of universities of teacher education

This working group established by the chamber of universities of teacher education is made up of commissioners for equal opportunities from various universities of teacher education. The group discusses current diversity-related topics and projects, and promotes cooperation on issues of diversity between the various institutions of higher education.

Conference on Equal Opportunities in Eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein

The Conference on Equal Opportunities in Eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein serves as a platform for exchange and as a network for its members and interested parties. It comprises the Specialist Units for Equality and Equal Opportunities of the Eastern Swiss cantons and municipalities, of the Principality of Liechtenstein, of the region’s institutions of higher education, of the cantons’ and municipalities’ personnel offices, centres for women, non-profit organisations and advisory centres, and of the equality commissions in the cantons, the municipalities and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

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Team Unit Gender & Diversity
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