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Event Series: "Get connected ..."

Lupe

Please note that all events will be held in German unless mentioned otherwise - The event on January 15th will be held in English

15/01/2018: Restricted Area - Racism and Sexism at German universities

Lupe

Dear members of TU Berlin,

We are happy to announce the 4th event of our series “Get connected…” , which is planned to intensify the discussion on diversity and equality in the context of TU Berlin. The 4th event entitled Restricted Area: Racism and Sexism at German universities” will take place on January 15th 2018 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in the main building of TU Berlin room H2036. The event will focus on the connections of racist and sexist structures at German universities. As always we invited some interesting speakers. Prof. Dr. Sabine Hark (TU Berlin-Fak I) will introduce the topic and discuss ambivalent entanglements of racism, feminism and sexism. Prof. Dr. Parminder Bakshi-Hamm (Internationale Berufsakademie Köln) will trace race and gender discrimination in German universities through statistics.

The event will be held in English. For the discussion a translation from German to English will be provided.

Prior registrations is appreciated:

We are looking forward to get in contact!

November 2017: Sexual Orientation

Lupe

The event “Stop the game of hide and seek! Gay, lesbian, bi-, trans-, and intersexual at TU Berlin” took place on 23rd november 2017. Beside the three very interesting talks the event was characterized by intensive and personal discussions. We want to thank you for your openness and trust.

In the following we want to provide a summary of the most important topics to everybody who hasn’t been able to participate. Feel also welcome to give us direct feedback with your experiences at TU Berlin via the direct acess (185420).

The first speaker, Mike Laufenberg- research associate at ZIFG (Fak. I), gave a critical introduction into the topic by introducing the concepts of heteronormativity and hostility against homosexuality. Hostility against homosexuality shouldn’t be seen as individual emotion or aversion, as the term homophobic suggests. Rather should such hostility be discussed as societal phenomena and therefore in its structural, institutional, cultural and legal dimensions. The term heteronormativity means that a binary gender concept (either men or woman) and heterosexuality is put as norm. By heteronormativity identities or sexual orientations that don’t adhere to this norm are made invisible and deniable. Therefore discrimination and violence against LGBTI* is not always expressed openly, but also through microagressions promoting a feeling of exclusion.

As heteronormativity and hostility against homosexuality must be seen as structural phenomena of society, universities must ask about their own entanglements. Furthermore university is a place where societal power is established and reproduced. Therefore universities are especially obliged to address these topics. In sharp contrast no surveys that discuss this topic in the German context exist yet. Studies in the US-context imply that the situation of LGBTI* differs depending on other factors such as status, age and career level. Particular the finding of high rates of discrimination and violence against transgender students is alarming. 

After a first discussion Florian Meinhold, research associate at "Institut für Diversity- und Antidiskriminierungsforschung", presented some results of the research  „Out im Office“. In comparison to the last study that was conducted 10 years earlier, participants dealt more open with their sexual orientation. Only 30% (compared to earlier 51%) don’t talk to anybody at work about their sexual orientation. Nevertheless the experience of discrimination at work didn’t drop significantly. For the first time also gender identity has been considered. Trans* people talk less often about their gender identity at work (69% don’t talk about it at all when at work) and experience more often discrimination in the working context (25,5% discrimination experience of Transgender compared to 11% as Cisgender). The survey also shows that discrimination and the feeling of not being able to talk openly about ones sexual orientation or gender identity at work can result in psychosomatic complaints.

The third talk was given from a practical perspective. Andrea von Kopp, head of the central student advisory service at the "Beuth Hochschule für Technik" made clear that LGBTI* is an important topic for students. She emphasized that universities must transform symbol politics of recognition into everyday practices. Measurements that only include symbol politics make it hard to address discrimination at a structural level and individualize experienced problems with being gay, lesbian, bi-, trans- or intersexual at university. A strong gay- and transfriendly positioning of universities is still necessary, but by far not enough. In respect to students it is important to note, that they are not protected by Germanys anti-discrimination law (AGG). Universities therefore must organize special protection. Andrea von Kopp also problematized that advisory services and administrations are often not prepared for the needs of LGBTI* students. For example risk-factors for LGBTI* students are not considered when allocating countries for studies abroad. Also administrative staff should be better informed about the possibilities of changing first names. In the following discussion it became apparent that this is also especially problematic at TU Berlin and therefore an official process of changing first-names must be established.

October 2017: Reconciliation

Lupe

The event "Reconciliation  3.0? Is TU Berlin doing enough for the reconciliation of family, work and study?" held on Friday morning took place in a group of about 15 people. The three guest-speakers prepared short inputs to give some insides into current debates concerning reconciliation to the audience. They also provided a background for the following discussion:

Jana Andersen presented the results of her master thesis. In her research in 2014 she especially focused on the situation of fathers at TU Berlin. She encountered various problems that students with children are facing. Especially remarking she found that fathers and mothers are still affected in different ways by their parenthood. Traditional role models still seem to be intact: Female students with kids still carry the biggest part of care work, while fathers more often work for payment aside their full-time studies. Long travel times between work, university and childcare institutions are common as students can't effort living close to the university or even within the city-centre. These long travel times make it hard for students to combine work, children and study. Particular striking for Jana Andersen was the fact that fathers tend to plead for a strict division of study and family, while women more often bring up their role as mothers in the context of university. One of the reasons for this might be that the common societal picture still implies that it is only the mother that takes care of the child and therefore needs special support.

To support students with children digital learning should be promoted and advocacy groups should be found at all faculties. A way to shorten the travel times could be too guarantee a quota for student jobs. As often only one of the parents is enrolled as a student while the other works it would also help to make the allocation of family flats in student housing more independent of the status of both parents being a student.

Carola Machnik, head of the family service office at TU Berlin, started her presentation with the definition of family at TU Berlin: „As the TU Berlin defines family is always given, if people take responsibility for their partners, their children or other close people in need of care." She presented various successes of the family service office: Diverse forms of care are offered to all status-groups at TU Berlin. The parent-children rooms are used about 620 times a year. Therefore the capacity limit is almost reached. There are about 450 consultations in German and in English. The consultations seekers are about 50 % man and 50% women. Even if TU Berlin has a higher share of man, this can be seen as a success as the  percentage of man raised over the last few years. Carola Machnik expects that this trend will keep on. After the presidium has taken up the project leadership for the "audit familiengerechte Hochschule" personnel and financial resources could have been provided to start permeating all sites, levels, sectors and field of TU Berlin.

Dr. Elisabeth Mantl, certified auditor of the "audit berufundfamilie" and head of the "Kompetenzbüros für Familie, Demografie und Gleichstellung" provided a summary of the current status of equal division of labour in technique, administration and science. She showed that there is a range of topics that influence equal division of labour. Still most of the couples adhering to the principle of gender equality, don't manage to include it fully into their daily lives. For example new working conditions are found to be in a sharp contrast to the ideas of responsible parenthood. These conflicting principles often end up in a forced retraditionalisation. Even highly-qualified women can't take up leadings position due to inflexible working time models. A questionnaire provided an instrument for self-assessment of the TU Berlin. The evaluation in the audience came to the conclusion that TU Berlin is an "organisation with modernised-ambivalent support of reconciliation". On the one hand a high engagement of the organisation for reconciliation can be found, on the other hand still mainly women work part-time and to work part time ends often in loss of career chances.

The following discussion focused on the financial aspects of the concept of equal division of labour. Due to the gender pay gap and other factors equal division of labour is often made impossible. Furthermore reconciliation has been made a Top-level issue due to its integration into the presidium, but is less often discussed on the level of faculties or personnel management.

The audience agreed that while flexibilization of leading positions at TU Berlin is wished for and theoretically possible, leading positions are not yet compatible with part time work. Therefore the structural level must be addressed. One solution could be to create permanent 80% leadership positions. Also the DV-Flex regulation was criticised as directed mainly towards members with children which was seen in contrast to the open definition of family by the TU Berlin.

As can be seen from this short summary, the discussion was very lively. The Team responsible for the diversity strategy of TU Berlin was thanks to the audience and the lecturers able to get some insides into the multiple aspect of reconciliation. Therefore we thank all participants.

The next event with the title "Stop the game of hide and seek! Gay, Lesbian, Bi-, Trans- and Intersexual at TU Berlin" takes place on November 23th (room: H2035).

For further experiences when dealing with diversity at TU Berlin you are welcome to contact us confidentially via the direct access 185420

June 2017: Social Background

The opening event of the series “Get connected…” with the title “Unknown terrain – how social background determines everyday life at university” took place in June 2017. The official opening by Vice President for international relations and teacher education, Prof. Dr. Angela  Ittel was followed by two informative talks of the invited speakers Dr. Angela Graf and Katja Urbatsch.

Dr. Angela Graf, Postdoc at the chair of sociology of science at TU Munich, is analyzing the influence of social background on scientific careers in Germany. It became apparent that already most student assistants belong to the middle and highest social group. This uneven distribution becomes increasingly visible in the scientific elite. 68% of the scientific elite belong to the two highest societal groups, the high and upper bourgeoisie, who - in contrast - constitute only 3.5% of the total population. Selection and recruiting processes are therefore not only characterized by the orientation at a rendered performance, but also by habitual differences in presenting the own performance, unequal distributed knowledge about social networking and also by self-selection due to the high risk of academic careers.

Katja Urbatsch, founder and executive director of Arbeiterkind.de, enriched the event with her perspectives and practical experiences. She discussed structural challenges, but also prejudices and fears first generation students are confronted with. She pleaded not only for practical and ideational support of these students, but also to take their strengths into account. Students from non-academic households for example have more working experience and could enrich the academic discourse through their practical perspectives and experiences.

The event, which was attended by about 40 participants, was successfully followed by an informal exchange accompanied by drinks and snacks. We would like to thank all the participants for their personal advice and perspectives on the relevance of social background in the field of teaching and learning, administration, science and research and the importance of habitus and informal network for the participation in academic life.

For further experiences when dealing with diversity at TU Berlin you are welcome to contact us confidentially via the direct access 185420.

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