FAQ about Diversity

  Hands typing on a laptop Copyright: © Stefan Hense

Here are short answers for you for some basic questions around diversity and diversity management.


Frequently Asked Questions About Diversity

What does diversity mean?

Diversity is the a different term for "variety". It refers to the diversity of people in companies or organizations, such as universities. At RWTH, this diversity is perceived as an opportunity and enrichment. What is meant by this is the positive consideration of different perspectives, needs and prerequisites of all employees, students and researchers. A university culture characterized by trust and respect does not allow disadvantages or even discrimination, neither on a personal nor on a structural level. Non-judgmental interaction is the basis for good cooperation at all levels and thus also for excellent research.

How is Diversity understood at RWTH Aachen University?

RWTH sees diversity as a holistic concept for dealing with personnel and cultural diversity. This includes recognizing and valuing difference, enabling access and career paths regardless of gender, origin or individual life situation, taking into account the increasing heterogeneity in teaching, research and operations, developing a non-discriminatory, innovative and vibrant university culture and increasing the attractiveness of the university. This can be read in the Diversity Strategy (2022 - 2027): Forward-looking activities are defined in four fields of action to promote the university's cultural transformation toward even greater equality of opportunity.

What is Bias/ Unconscious Bias

"Bias" means, among other things, "prejudice". We are usually not aware of this bias: Nevertheless, we all have unconscious prejudices - also called "unconscious bias". These influence our thoughts and actions, and not always in a positive way. The consequences of such stereotypical thinking patterns can be discriminatory structures and discrimination against individuals.
To what extent a bias can influence decisions, what possibilities there are to prevent this and what is meant by the anti-bias approach can be found on this page of the RWTH.

I am an engineer/scientist, how does my work relate to Diversity?

Regardless of the subject, diversity also plays a role that should not be underestimated in many engineering and scientific research projects, for example in medical research, in the applicability and functionality of technical devices and products for different user groups, or in the consideration of the realities of life for diverse population groups when it comes to planning mobility, buildings and cities.

When evaluating research projects, many funding institutions now not only require a diverse team of researchers, but also ensure that the entire research process is diversity-sensitive - from the development of research questions to data collection and the processing of research results.

We already have gender and equality topics? What is the difference to Diversity?

Equality work and the gender issue refer to gender equality - women, men, as well as all people from the LGBTQI+ spectrum. Diversity, however, goes beyond this and refers to all dimensions of distinction and thus potential discrimination of people. Diversity management aims to counteract discrimination, structural disadvantages and biases in order to promote appreciative cooperation and diversity of perspectives. It also refers to inclusion, the integration of people with a refugee or migration background, and equal opportunity participation, that is independent of social and family background, ethnicity, or ideology.