Anti-Discrimination and diversity-sensitive University

Often there is an inhibitition to deal with the topic anti-discrimination. For an University (of Applied Sciences) it is important to stand up for the social responsibility of anti-discrimination work and raise awareness of its members for esteeming each other and a culture of responsibility. That means all status groups of Beuth University – teachers, employees, students - try to reflect their ideas of gender, ethnicity, religion, social status, age, sexuality or (dis-)ability and understand how these perceptions are formed in a social and historical context. It´s not about judging, but about supporting each other and enable an open space for questions, resistance and reflection.

Are you a student, employee or professor at Beuth University and interested in anti-discrimination work? Or are you interested in an advanced training, for example about gender sensitization? Or maybe you want to know how to use non-discriminatory language?

Don´t hesitate and write us an e-mail at gutz[at]beuth-hochschule.de or give us a call: 030 4504-5140.


Postcards

Together with the artist Janna Baibatyrova, the Gender and Technology Centre (GuTZ) has created postcards on the subject of anti-discrimination. They deal with individual categories such as age, disability, gender or parenthood. The postcards are intended to heighten the awareness of people to whom the topic of anti-discrimination is still completely new, and to encourage them to reflect on it.

All postcards can be ordered from us on request and free of charge.

If you have any questions, comments or criticism regarding the motifs or the texts, please do not hesitate to contact us: gutz[at]beuth-hochschule.de.

Intersectionality

Text on the back: The postcard series "University visible" deals with social categories that are often associated with discrimination: gender, age, parenthood, religion and belief, social background, disability, ethnicity or sexual identity. The postcards provide information and encourage reflection on discrimination and social inequality. However, all the categories that are described do not just coexist, but usually overlap. This is made visible through the concept of intersectionality. It shows, for example, why only so few professors* of colour or with a history of migration teach at universities – because patriarchal and racist systems make this career for certain people easier than for others.

Gender

Text on the back: A person’s gender is part of their identity. At birth, we are attributed a gender (“male” or “female”) on the basis of certain characteristics. If this is not possible one speaks of intersexuality. If people do not identify with the ascribed gender, that is called transgender.

Since 2018, the so-called “third option” has been in place in Germany. It is now possible, under limited conditions, to either have the gender entry “diverse” (“d”) or to not have an entry made at all.

 

Social Background

Text on the back: Follow your dream! If I made it, you'll make it!

These statements conceal the fact that it is only partly in our power to shape our own path in life. School-leaving qualifications, one’s circle of friends or choice of career are all influenced by one’s social background. Our social background is the environment into which we are born and which determines how we speak, act and what we consider possible. Discrimination on the basis of social background is often carried out by institutions and is rarely visible at first glance.

Age

Text on the back: "Young people don’t act responsibly." "Old people can’t handle computers."

Behind the attributions "too young" or "too old" are prejudices such as that young people are inexperienced and older people are inflexible. Ageism means the social and economic discrimination of individuals and groups on the basis of their age.
Age discrimination can manifest itself in unequal salaries or in difficulties in changing jobs, but it also influences other areas of life, for example who we find attractive.

Sexual Identity

Text on the back: Lesbian, gay and bi – these are just a few examples of the diversity of sexual identities. Sometimes queer is used as a generic term for sexual and gender diversity. Despite the increasing visibility of diverse sexual identities, heterosexuality is still presented as the social norm.

LGBTQIA+ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual) are still exposed to hostility and discrimination. This manifests itself, for example, in the use of homo- and bi-phobic swear words or in the difficult legal recognition of non-heterosexual relationships.

 

Religion and Belief

Description of the picture: Three people stand together in a laboratory and seem to have a friendly relationship with each other. The person on the left wears a cross pendant on a necklace. The person in the middle wears a lab coat and a headscarf. The person on the right wears a long skirt and has a sidecut. In the background you can see a laboratory.

Text on the back: Freedom of religion and belief is protected under the German constitution – it is "inviolable". This formal inviolability includes the right to live out, but also to express one's own convictions freely. In order to guarantee religious and ideological freedom, state institutions are obliged to be neutral. In practice, however, the situation is different: The requirement of neutrality can also conceal discrimination, for example when an apparently neutral rule discriminates against certain groups. This is often linked to other forms of discrimination, such as racism and sexism.

 

Disability

Description of the picture: A person with curls is walking through the university with a service dog. In the background are other students.

Text on the back: Whether in seminars, at work or in everyday life: people with disabilities often encounter barriers. Disabilities result from the interaction between social barriers and the physical and/or mental handicaps of a person. Therefore, inclusion means that a university adapts the framework conditions to the different needs. Existing structures, such as tight timing for exams or rooms that are not barrier-free, make equal participation more difficult.

Ethnicity

Text on the back: We often have an idea of what is meant by the term ethnicity. However, such ideas are never neutral, but contain attributions. These "ethnicizing" attributions usually appear unconsciously, are sometimes well-intentioned, but nevertheless racist. Racism is not limited to interpersonal levels, but permeates the whole of our society, our language and institutions. One reason for this is that Germany has never critically reprocessed its colonial history. Thus, streets and institutions are still named after people who actively contributed to the system of oppression.

 

Parenthood

Text on the back: Single parenting? As a couple? As a community?

Parenthood means responsibility and is influenced by many factors. Children have different needs at different times. Therefore, parents need flexible arrangements to combine different areas of life, such as their studies, their job or leisure time. In addition, if there are several parents, the division of labour with regard to children and household is often unequally distributed. A family-friendly organisation must take all this into account.

 

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