Freie Universität Berlin Receives Its Eighth Total E-Quality Award for Equal Opportunities and Diversity Initiatives

The selection panel noted that Freie Universität Berlin is a shining example for other universities in Germany when it comes to promoting diversity and critically reflecting on it

Freie Universität Berlin has once more been granted a Total E-Quality Award for its exemplary commitment to promoting equality between women and men, receiving additional recognition for its work toward promoting diversity. It received the award during an online ceremony held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The selection panel emphasized Freie Universität Berlin’s commitment to "serving as a role model for other universities in promoting diversity and critically reflecting on it." By incorporating best practices, it is "contributing to the positive development of equal opportunities and diversity in our society in the long term." Last year, Freie Universität Berlin was granted the award for the seventh time in a row for its exemplary commitment to promoting equality between women and men. The award is given by the nonprofit organization Total E-Quality, an initiative for establishing equal opportunities for women and men.

Professor Verena Blechinger-Talcott, the vice president with responsibilities for diversity and equal opportunities at Freie Universität Berlin, commented on the university’s most recent success in this field: "We are incredibly proud to have received this award, and to have achieved so much across all areas of our university up to this point. We still have a lot to do, but this is a very positive affirmation of our work. It spurs us on in our continuing efforts to promote diversity and combat discrimination in our university. It also underscores the importance of our first diversity strategy from February, which defines our understanding of diversity and anti-discrimination at Freie Universität Berlin. In it, we have outlined our objectives and measures in all fields of activity at the university for the next two years, and committed to them." These steps are currently being put into action.

The vice president also pointed to the new Gender Equity Strategy and Action Plan for 2021 to 2026, which is closely intertwined with the existing Diversity Strategy and Action Plan. Freie Universität Berlin has been considered one of the best universities in Germany when it comes to promoting women at different stages of their academic career, as was proven recently in the latest Center of Excellence Women and Science (CEWS) ranking. "In addition to our long-term work on equal opportunities and our prior successes in this field, we now want to bring other, interrelated dimensions of diversity into focus and set up the necessary working structures to do so," she added.

The selection panel also highlighted that Freie Universität Berlin has been actively involved in a wide range of innovative projects, and that it is able to look back on a long and successful history of promoting diversity and dismantling inequalities. The Diversity Mission Statement published by Freie Universität Berlin in 2013 has served as a jumping off point for initiating an extensive process of continuous reorganization, with the goal of making the university a wholly discrimination-free space. All status groups are encouraged to participate.

The nonprofit organization, Total E-Quality e.V., works to establish equal opportunities for women and men in the workplace. The award has been given to companies and political institutions since 1996, and since 2002 universities and other academic institutions can also be taken into consideration. Since 2015 a rating for diversity has also been awarded, which recognizes institutions’ efforts to support diversity among employees. Since 2002, Freie Universität has applied successfully every three years for the award in recognition of its promotion of equal opportunities, and in 2017 for the first time, also for the additional recognition for its work toward promoting diversity.


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