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Equal Opportunities at the University of Potsdam

Equal opportunities and familiy friendliness are essential aspects of the University of Potsdam’s mission statement (only available in German). Together with diversity policies, these cross-sectional tasks form the basis of the successful structuring of studies, research, teaching, and employment at the University of Potsdam.

Equal opportunities means the right to equal access to life chances. This includes in particular the prohibition of discrimination – for example based on one’s sex or gender, age, religion, cultural affiliation, physical ability, ethnic or social background, and sexual identity (see the General Equal Treatment Act). In order to achieve effective equal opportunities and, thus, equality of chances, it is possible to use so-called positive measures (known as “affirmative actions”: targeted compensations for social groups that experience discrimination). In recent years, equal opportunity work at universities has developed from the active advancement of women and the establishment of procedural structures and standards, particularly by offers improving compatibility and the institutionalization of topics around gender equality in nearly all university structures. Especially in times of growing autonomy, internationalization, and professionalization, universities must recognize and actively dismantle mechanisms of exclusion and discrimination and promote tolerance and diversity. Diversity policies and anti-discrimination work gain in importance.

Gender equality can only be established through an intersectional understanding of all dimensions of inequality. Equal opportunities at the University of Potsdam therefore means: gender equality work, diversity policies, and anti-discrimination.

Equal Opportunity Coordination Office

The Equal Opportunity Coordination Office (KfC) informs, advises, and sensitizes under the leadership of the Central Equal Opportunity Commissioner around questions of equal opportunities and diversity in higher education. The KfC has existed as the Equal Opportunity Office since 2009. It has developed from a project to an institutionalized part of the university. Since then, the Office has significantly supported the work of the central equal opportunity commissioner.

Since 2018, the KfC has been focusing on intersectional equal opportunities work. In addition to classical topics such as the advancement of women and gender equality work as well as family and work-life balance (in cooperation with the Service for Families/D3), the following topics have become central:

  • anti-racist/anti-discrimination work
  • diversity policies
  • gender diversity

Considering both gender equality and diversity at the University of Potsdam

The Equal Opportunity Coordination Office brings together the fields of gender equality and diversity. It coordinates the various topics, actively campaigns for the dismantling of any form of discrimination, and promotes equal opportunities at the university. Gender equality and an equal right to access, participation, and advancement of all members of the university in all their diversity against the background of an unequal distribution of power are no contradictions at the University of Potsdam. On the contrary, the Equal Opportunity Coordination Office follows the motto “Gender and Diversity - Avoiding Competition, Promoting Cooperation”.

In 2021/22, the University of Potsdam was undergoing the Diversity Audit “Shaping Diversity” (only available in German) of the Donors’ Association. Its goal is the initialization of a comprehensive diversity strategy as well as the common development of measures and offers for promoting and sustainably embedding diversity at the University of Potsdam, dismantling barriers for disadvantaged groups, and as a whole working towards living together sensitive to discrimination.