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Katrin Klink
Katrin Klink, M.A.

Tel.: (0721) 608-48454
Fax: (0721) 608-43970

E-mail: katrin klinkUov0∂kit edu

Anja Christ-Wetzel

Tel.: (0721) 608-43839

E-mail: Anja Christ-WetzelUup3∂kit edu

Gender Awareness at KIT

Gender Awareness at KIT

Guidelines for gender-sensitive imagery
Leitlinien für eine gendergerechte Bildsprache

Guidelines for gender-sensitive imagery

Gender competence through gender awareness

In terms of general stereotypes, men are considered as assertive, decisive, self-confident, and able to sell well. Women are considered as empathic, assimilating and acting in a socially responsible manner. It should be noted that gender-specific competences are the result of socialization, personal experience and social role models. They are an expression of living conditions that shape men and women as well as their common interaction and influence their attitudes and behaviour.

With a focus on gender awareness, especially the systematic perception, reflection and consideration of different life backgrounds of men and women, the KIT underlines the potential of diversity of both sexes. KIT promotes understanding of gender differences and the acceptance of equal opportunities as a cross-sectional task. This creates basic conditions for the successful implementation of equal opportunities.


Gender awareness for leading positions

Due to their central role, the executives at KIT are role models and thus provide a decisive impulse for gender equality for men and women. They are asked to act in a gender-aware manner, not to regard their employees according to traditional role models and stereotypes, but to support them individually, if possible, taking into account the respective life situation. Executives create an environment of constructive cooperation, with appreciation of both sexes without direct or latent discrimination or disadvantage. In their communication they make sure that both sexes are considered equally.


Workshop "Unconscious Bias"


"Bias" is understood as cognitive perceptual distortions such as stereotypes or prejudices that can occur consciously or unconsciously. Such bias is necessary to simplify the complexity of our environment. We use mental abbreviations that automatically complement missing information about others. As a result, people who are more like us are automatically more sympathetic. The strange and unfamiliar, on the other hand, is suspect to us.

Evidence of science

As typical examples of the "unconscious bias" in university or work context, two studies can be cited:

  • The study by MacNell et al. (2014) shows that students tend to rate teachers according to gender. So, male lecturers obtained far better rating than female ones.
  • Second, the study by Bertrand and Mullainathan (2004) shows that identical CVs were rated better or worse according to the names used (different nationalities).

Unconscious bias in the university context

Not only in everyday life, but also in the university / scientific context, "unconscious bias" occurs again and again. Often, our decisions are influenced by factors that we are not aware of and that may be caused by unconscious bias. Such decisions may, for example, occur in the following areas:

  • appointment procedures
  • human resource development
  • distribution of tasks
  • performance evaluation
  • evaluation of competences

Why "Unconscious Bias Training"?

In our guidelines for ethical principles, we are committed to cooperatively, sincerity, and trustingly interaction, regardless of position, origin, religion, gender, and other forms of diversity. (Guidelines for ethical principles of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), as of 17.10.2016). For this reason, an "Unconscious Bias Training" is offered at KIT, which should sensitize the employees in dealing with this phenomenon.

Goals of the training are:

  • Make your own bias aware and learn to question
  • Derive and discuss options for the reduction of "Unconscious Bias" in the work context

If you would like to offer such training for a whole group (for example, within an SFB or a Helmholtz program), please look in our event calendar for the next appointment or contact us directly.


Gender awareness in training and development

In order to extend the individual competence of the employees, topic and context-related aspects of gender are integrated into training and development offers of the Human Ressources Development and Trainee Department (PEBA) of KIT. They are subordinated to the topic, but remain consistently present throughout the entire workshop or seminar. In communication workshops a reflection on differences in the communication behaviour between men and women is possible. In the field of conflict management, possible different strategies of behaviour can be revealed and discussed. Simulations, case examples, group work or other methods used in the workshops can consider gender sensitive content.

Last but not least, the use of gender-sensitive language and representation in further education offers, in the sense of a model role, contributes to gender sensitization/ gender awareness.

Through gender awareness in further education, on the one hand, communication and discussion between the sexes should be stimulated and promoted, on the other hand, gender-spanning approaches should be found. At the same time, a better understanding of the opposite sex is to be achieved, thereby enabling equal cooperation.


Workshop on gender awareness / gender sensitization

The Human Ressources Development and Trainee Department at KIT (PEBA) offers, in addition to the integrative events - especially coordinated research programs - its own thematic workshop on gender awareness.

Aim of the workshop:

The participants learn different models that can be used to reflect on the competence to act in relation to the requirements in the respective professional context. This also extends individual competences.


The acquisition or expansion of gender competence comprises the following three levels:

  • Dealing with gender stereotypes
  • Transfer of knowledge / facts: gender distribution in science, strategies and implementation of gender equality
  • Developing strategies to realize gender equality