EPWS President Dr. Brigitte Mühlenbruch has been honoured with the Order of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany in acknowledgement of her pioneering work in the promotion of women in science at national as well as European level. She received the Order of Merit by the German Federal President Joachim Gauck himself in Berlin on 6 October 2014 on the occasion of the Day of German Unity.
Brigitte Mühlenbruch worked as a scientist at the University of Bonn for almost 20 years before becoming the University’s first Equal Opportunities Commissioner 1988-2000. Since the late 1980’s her research and concept development have focused on gender equality, gender mainstreaming, and programmes and processes regarding the recruitment and retention of female scientists in Germany as well as at the EU level. She was founder and long-term spokeswomen of the Federal Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education in Germany (BuKoF) 1992-1999 and co-founder and Vice President of the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation.
Brigitte Mühlenbruch initiated the Center of Excellence Women and Science CEWS in Bonn and was its Managing Director 2000-2005, managing several research projects funded by the German government and the EU in the field of gender equality in science. Under her leadership, CEWS drafted the winning proposal for the establishment of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS in Brussels and signed the contract with the European Commission in 2005. In her different capacities, Brigitte Mühlenbruch is member and scientific advisor of several high profile national and European scientific committees, commissions and expert groups.
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for services to the nation. The Order of Merit may be awarded to Germans as well as foreigners for achievements in the political, economic, social or intellectual realm and for all kinds of outstanding services to the nation in the field of social, charitable or philanthropic work. No pecuniary reward is attached.