Press Release 048/2022

KIT Launches Diversity Offensive

Diversity Strategy Adopted – President Holger Hanselka Patron of CSD Karlsruhe 2022 – “Diversity Charter” About to be Signed
Many colors, one overall picture: With its new Diversity Strategy, Karlsruhe’s largest employer takes a holistic approach to diversity (Photo: Tanja Meißner, KIT)
Many colors, one overall picture: With its new Diversity Strategy, Karlsruhe’s largest employer takes a holistic approach to diversity (Photo: Tanja Meißner, KIT)

With the adoption of a Diversity Statement, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has put the handling of the diversity of its almost 10,000 employees on a new footing. In a holistic approach that understands all aspects of diversity as added value, the focus is on developing the performance potential of all.  Strategic priorities are set for equal opportunities and internationalization. Moreover, Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, makes a personal statement for diversity: As a patron, he supports Karlsruhe's Christopher Street Day (CSD) on June 04, 2022.

“Diversity, openness, and transparency are values that guide us at KIT every day. Just like our pluralistic society as a whole, science thrives on mutual respect and the acceptance of differences. With the KIT Diversity Statement now adopted, we want to enable individual life plans and situations even more than before and develop stronger diversity competencies,” says Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. “The diversity of our employees and students is our strength. Diversity takes us forward – in research, teaching, and innovation as well as in social interaction. As President of KIT, it is therefore a great honor for me to be the patron of this year's Christopher Street Day in Karlsruhe and to support the LGBTQ community in its struggle for equal opportunities and rights.”

The KIT Diversity Statement bundles existing and future activities: In the “Enabling individual life plans and respecting life situations” field of action, the focus is on offers for reconciling private life and work. This includes, for example, mobile work, childcare, and care of relatives – but also the participation of individuals with visual impairments, which is supported by the Center for Digital Accessibility and Assistive Technologies ACCESS@KIT. In the “Creating transparent and fair framework conditions” field of action, guidelines and voluntary commitments describe the existing requirements, for example, in connection with the conversion to tenure-track or with foreseeable career paths at KIT. In addition, systematic and transparent staff selection procedures help applicants plan their career at KIT in an optimum way. The “Developing Diversity Competencies” field of action teaches relevant professional competencies by means of e-learning modules and workshops, for example on “unconscious bias” – also as part of the nationwide “Diversity Day” on May 31.

Focus on Equal Opportunities and Internationalization

The KIT diversity strategy focuses on equal opportunities and internationalization. Efforts to strengthen equal opportunities for men and women across KIT are reflected, among others, in three projects that have been implemented as part of KIT’s Excellence Strategy since 2019: Under “Gender Equity 1”, a total of 14 discipline-specific equal opportunity activities have been funded since fall 2021. They cover a wide range of action types, from recruitment measures for various career stages to the establishment of networks for female scientists and the analysis and optimization of working conditions from an equal opportunities perspective. “Gender Equity 2”, in contrast, concentrates on attracting female professors and on creating networks of female scientists. The ambitious “100 Professorships Program” envisions a 40 percent share of women among new professorship appointments. It is meant to contribute significantly to ensuring that by 2030 at least every fifth professorship at KIT will be held by a woman. 

The second focus of the Diversity Statement is internationalization. Individuals from more than 120 countries are doing research, are teaching, working, and studying at KIT. The institute highlights the wealth of added value brought about by this cultural diversity in its internationalization strategy adopted in 2018. Furthermore, KIT assumes its social responsibility beyond national borders, for example in the European alliances Eucor and EPICUR. Extensive welcome and integration offers for international researchers and students are therefore a natural part of the new diversity strategy. 

In order to demonstrate to the outside world as well how much the topic of diversity is appreciated at KIT, the institute will soon join the “Diversity Charter” employer initiative founded in 2006. By signing the charter, employers declare that they will create or promote equal opportunities for their employees, regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, ideology, disability, age, or sexual orientation. (jha)

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Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jha, 24.05.2022


Monika Landgraf
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