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Verdrehte bunte Seile versinnbildlichen Diversität

Diversity at Osnabrück University

On the occasion of the nationwide Diversity Day on May 18, the Equal Opportunities Office of Osnabrück University presents its commitment to diversity as well as first statistical insights on diversity issues at our University. Let us inspire you!

Diversity Charter

Following the initiative of the Charta der Vielfalt e.V. (Diversity Charter) the 9th German Diversity Day will take place on May 18. Different companies, institutions and organizations will set an example by organizing diverse campaigns and events. Likewise, the Osnabrück University is a signatory of the “Charta der Vielfalt”. The members of the Osnabrück University are diverse! We – the equal opportunities office – want to use the Day of Diversity to visualize this colorful diversity.

Equal treatment for everybody

Diversity as in variety, complexity and heterogeneity stands for an appreciative and conscious approach towards the diversity within the society. We differ regarding our social background, our gender, our race, our sexual orientation, our religion or belief system, our age, our physical and psychological abilities as well as many other features. Simultaneously, in an equally diverse way, we can find similarities among one another. Accordingly, diversity also means finding these similarities. It is equally important that we reflect on societal relations of power and the positions of individuals within this dynamic.

To achieve non-discriminatory and equal treatment for everybody, as established by law through the 2006 passed “Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz” (General Equal Treatment Act), the Osnabrück University has initiated respective processes and measures.

Data on the diversity of Osnabrück University

In the following, initial data on the diversity of the members of the Osnabrück University based on selected features will be presented. The data is based on the central acquisition by the Osnabrück University, which is planned to be expanded by the Gender-Controlling.

(1) Gender Diversity

Gender identities at Osnabrück University

The gender of the employees and students at Osnabrück University is recorded statistically as per guidelines by the state of Lower Saxony. In 2018, along with the change in the Civil Status Act, in addition to the options of “male” and “female” the option to register as “diverse” has been implemented. The official recording of the gender is gathered in the birth certificate or passport.

The diagram shows the gender of students in first term 2020/2021: Male 40,53%, female 59,46% and diverse 0,01% (source: MIS Stichtags-Studierenden-Daten / Effective: November 11, 2020).

Gender and career level in science

The observation of gender representation regarding the career levels in science provides the opportunity of visualizing inequalities. Even though the percentage of women is increasing slowly, one can see the effect of vertical segregation. This depicts that the higher the career level rises the smaller the percentage of women becomes. One can assume, that this segregation especially affects trans*, inter* and nonbinary people. This phenomenon is also called “Leaky Pipeline” which illustrates the fallout of women (trans*, inter* and nonbinary people) the further the pipeline proceeds.

The table shows students and employees at different levels of qualification and career levels in first term 2020/2021 differentiated for gender (source: Hochschulinterne Erhebung / Effective: December 15/31, 2020).

Group of persons male female
Students 41% 59%
Graduates 34% 66%
Research associates 54% 46%
PhD 57% 43%
Professors 71% 29%

Officially recorded gender and experienced gender may differ

As well as in our society we can find various gender identities at university. Even though people who identify as non-binary may use the option of recording as “diverse”, this for one does not reflect the variety of different gender identities that exist in an adequate way and also plays out to be a time-consuming bureaucratic process. The self-assigned and experienced gender identity, meaning if and how strongly individuals feel in belonging to one of the binary genders, cannot be made visible through this category. This identity may also diverge from the officially recorded gender which may cause discrepancies between assigned and experienced gender. Accordingly, it needs to be pointed out, that the actual gender diversity of employees and students at Osnabrück University cannot be pictured through these numbers.

(2) Interculturality

Currently there are 853 students with foreign citizenship studying at the Osnabrück University, who have received their university entrance certificate either in Germany or abroad. The Osnabrück University feels strongly obliged to the aim of international communication and cooperation and therefore a valuable cultural exchange.

In the winter semester 2020/21, the numbers for the continents, which the primary citizenship of foreign students can be assigned to are distributed as follows: Europe 52,1%, Asia 32,1%, America 9,4%, Africa 6,0%, Australia 0,1%, stateless/unresolved 0,4% (source: MIS Stichtags-Studierenden-Daten / Effective: November 15, 2020).

Discrepancy between citizenship and experienced cultural identity

The acquisition of citizenship is also based on official records. The individual cultural identity as well as the own feeling of belonging cannot adequately be shown through this. Additionally, experienced discrimination or the threat of discrimination may not be visible through viewing citizenship alone. To achieve visibility, we need additional methods and approaches.

(3) Open University

91,22%6,42%2,32%0,04%general university entrance certificateuniversity of applied sciences entrance qualificationsubject-linked eligibility of university admissionother UEC

Educational trajectories are becoming more diverse, which is something that the Osnabrück University considers and supports under the principle of an “Open University”. The student’s university entrance certificates vary. And even though 90% of students possess a general university entrance certificate there are other ways of entering the Osnabrück University as a student. Diverse experiences enrich the exchange and promote a change of perspective!

The diagram shows the university entrance certificates of students in first term 2020/2021: general university entrance certificate 91,22%, university of applied sciences entrance qualification 6,42%, subject-linked eligibility of university admission 2,32%, other university entrance certificate 0,04% (source: MIS Stichtags-Studierenden-Daten / Effective: November 15, 2020).

Educational background needs to be looked at more closely

The university entrance certificate can be considered one of many indicators of the educational background. For a comprehensive view, for example regarding children to parents who are considered part of the working class, additional indicators must be included.

The Osnabrück University is diverse – but how diverse is it really?

The students and employees of the Osnabrück University are diverse. This diversity is recorded centrally only in regard to some features. By the means of these chosen features (e.g. gender) or dimensions the overall diversity can only be represented in parts. As shown above, there are additional features and analysis (also from an intersectional perspective) needed to visualize this diversity and to transfer essential key figures to a monitoring system. The existing equality measures could be advanced and implemented in a more target-oriented way through a sustainable and university-wide recording of, for example, students with children and care responsibilities.

Diversity projects at Osnabrück University

(1) Project Gender- and Diversity-Controlling

The Gender- and Diversity-Controlling, which has been in place since 2020 at the Osnabrück University at the interface of the equal opportunities office and the central reporting system, is dedicated to this task under many. For one, a systematic scheme to the gender- and diversity-related data will be developed. Secondly, a sustainable and solid database that enables evaluation and development of existing and needed equality measures will be established. This will then be integrated into the university controlling. If you want to comment on relevant features, which should be considered, or have other comments in this regard, please contact Jennifer Weßeler oder take part in our feedback survey.

(2) Project “equal opportunities from an intersectional perspective – diversity at UOS”

With the aid of the project “equal opportunities from an intersectional perspective – diversity at UOS” an appreciative interaction with the diversity of its members shall be promoted and the university shall be supported by its design of a less discriminatory space. The anti-discrimination-counselling for students and employees, for example regarding topics like racism, LGBTIQ*, religion and social background, is a central part of this project and the services that the equal opportunities office has to offer.

(3) Comprehensive services offered of the Equal Opportunities Office

Additionally, the equal opportunities office supports the diversity layout through its other services including the family-service, the counselling in case of sexual discrimination and violence or with the mentoring-program for female master’s students. Together we want to contribute to breaking and overcoming prejudice and stereotypes that result in discrimination.

Shaping diversity first and foremost means creating a consciousness and secondly building on top of that by initiating actions. To achieve this, one needs statistical foundations, which shall be systematized and expanded through the Gender- and Diversity-Controlling, as well as an individual and political will for change. Examples for opportunities for action include the expansion of apposite measures to raise awareness and build consciousness in addition to the central establishment of a contact-point for counseling in case of experienced discrimination for each member of the university. On a long-term basis these and other measures shall create structures and institutional action equitable for a diverse university. 

Contact persons for the offers in the Equal Opportunities Office

Gender- and Diversity-Controlling Jennifer Weßeler, M.A.

Equal opportunities from an intersectional perspective – diversity at UOS / Counseling against discrimination
Wladlena Olesch, M.A.

Family Service
Christine Kammler, M.A.

Mentoring for female Master’s students
Greta Schaffer-Weiß, M.A

Counseling sexualized discrimination and violence Sabine Jösting
Annkatrin Kalas, M.A.

Here you can find further information on the services offered by the Equal Opportunities Office (in German).

Please feel free to give feedback!

Do you have further comments and ideas on the topic of diversity at UOS? Please feel free to give feedback! Note: The survey is open until May 24, 2021.

Survey in English

Survey in German

Would you like to take a closer look at the topic?

You will find interesting events, videos, press releases and more information on the German version of this page. Please note that all events are held in German.

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