Our story

Did you know that more than 30% of all students at the TU Wien are female? This means that every third seat in a lecture hall or work space in a laboratory is occupied by a woman. In the Bachelor and Master programmes of Technical Chemistry, this ratio is even higher: the percentage of female students reaches nearly 50%.*

Until 2016, there was actually no full female professor at the Faculty of Technical Chemistry! It was time to take action, and FemChem, a network of female scientists, was born.

* https://tiss.tuwien.ac.at/statistik/public_lehre Zugegriffen am 25.07.2023


three female chemists working in the laboratory

Our milestones

The FemChem network was established only after the Faculty of Technical Chemistry won a competition within the TU Wien to create sustainable equality concepts. During this process, a group of motivated female scientists framed an action plan to promote women in science. Amongst other things, this plan included travel grants for conferences, increasing the number of habilitated women in university positions, and improving communication within the faculty. 

Since then, the effects of the FemChem action plan have become clearly visible. The following list highlights a few of our milestones:

  • After 100 years, Ruth Birner-Grünberger became the first female professor at the Faculty of Technical Chemistry.
  • In 2020 and 2021, Martina Marchetti-Deschmann, Golta Khatibi Damavandi, Katharina Schröder, Maria Cruz Sanchez Sanchez and Astrid Mach-Aigner were awarded tenure.
  • Three female candidates (Anne Conibear, Irina Delidovich & Maren Podewitz) are on a tenure-track position.
  • The Scientific Workshop and Annual Meeting were introduced to boost visibility and enhance networking between the institutes.
  • Tailored workshops and seminars are offered throughout the year to enhance hard- and soft-skills of our students. Depending on the topic, these courses are either female-only or open to all genders.
  • More than 32 travel grants were awarded to female students for conference participations all over the world. 
  • The FemChem lecture (LVA 034.018) on gender-sensitive collaboration and project management was established.
  • A study on the situation of young scientists at the Faculty (Gender) was executed and the follow-up (PArent) is currently being conducted. 
femchem timeline from the foundation in 2016 to now

Being part of FemChem

Being an active member is a great opportunity to make a change, further your personal and professional development and thrive in our culture of support and collaboration. Browse through the comments from former members for more insights.

Profile picture of Angela Miltner

Being part of FemChem was a wonderful time of friendship and fellowship. We learned a lot, supported each other, improved our skills, and initiated improvements within the Faculty. I also appreciated that FemChem also addresses men and the general situation at the Faculty although it of course has its focus on women. I can only recommend every woman in the Faculty to become part of FemChem in one or another way to feel the spirit, support, and appreciation.– Angela Miltner

By building an encouraging network FemChem provided support for each and everyone of us. Vibrant discussions amongst the management board, as well as steering committees with the dean offered me valuable experience and contributed substantially to my personal growth and my strategy of negotiation. The immense potential of the FemChem network revealed when I finished my PhD thesis and transferred my knowledge from university to industry. Sharing information, providing support to colleagues, pushing each other, communicating in a respectful manner, an efficient working style, and a critical way of thinking are only a few of the topics that remain extremely precious to me.– Elise Zerobin

Profile picture of Elise Zerobin