Choosing a field of study

Choosing a field of study is heavily influenced by gender. Women interested in Economics, Computer Science and Physics are still the exception. On the other hand, the proportion of men studying Veterinary Medicine or Theatre Studies is just 20 percent. These differences in the distribution of the genders to subjects and disciplines is referred to as horizontal segregation. The University of Bern is committed to leaving stereotypes behind and thus to weakening horizontal segregation.

Here you can find information on various activities at the University of Bern:

What inequalities of opportunity exist concerning the choice of careers and studies? What measures already exist in the Canton of Bern to counteract these inequalities and what additional measures would need to be taken? In the Practice-theory dialogue, experts from research, university administration, the Cantonal Directorate of Education and Equal Opportunities, as well as career counsellors, teachers, school headmasters and heads of innovative career change projects sit together at a round-table. The different perspectives are presented in discussion, learning from each other and new strategies are discussed in plenary. Through the joint dialogue, insights from theory inform practices and thus enable new strategic orientations and their implementation. For a knowledge transfer to society, the events are also open to a wider audience. The learning effect is judged to be very high and very positive by all participants.

The meetings are open to the public, take place two to three times a year and are organised by the Office for Gender Equality of the University of Bern, the Bern University of Applied Sciences, the PHBern and the Cantonal Gender Equality Office.


The chance_be cooperation project, sponsored by Swissuniversities, links and networks the University of Bern, the Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH and the Bern University of Teacher Education PHBern in the area of career and study choice. Which subjects are particularly segregated by gender and why? What measures already exist in the Canton of Berne and what additional measures must the three universities take? How can the findings from theory be transferred into practice? These questions are at the heart of the practice-theory dialogue.

Current project: five students from the three universities in Bern tell why they are studying an atypical subject: #bildungsvorbilder (german)

Contact: Lilian Fankhauser

A little over half of students today are women. But if you take a closer look, you soon find out that women are still underrepresented in scientific subjects. The discrepancy is at its most obvious in Computer Science where women account for only 11 percent of all students. In Physics, the proportion of women students is 28 percent, in Mathematics, Chemistry and Geology between 35 and 40 percent (figures for the fall semester 2013).

The Preview Days for students who have completed middle school are intended to encourage women to apply for scientific and mathematical degree programs. The idea is to get rid of stereotypes and inspire young women to go on to study sciences.

The Preview Days for students who have completed middle school is a joint project between the Office for Gender Equality at the University of Bern and the Faculty of Science.