Valuing Diversity at GEOMAR
Marine research centre aims to actively support the development of diversity at work
A diverse and inclusive working culture has been one of the topics of discussion in a designated GEOMAR 2030 strategy group, which has been working on developing aims and measures for advancing diversity and gender equality at GEOMAR, since December 2020. “12 GEOMAR employees representing the four research divisions, technical facilities, personnel department, staff council, postdocs and equal opportunity officers came together and put forward a first suite of ideas for GEOMAR’s future advancement in these topics” says Dr. Başak Kısakürek Ibsen, who was leading the working group. One suggestion put forward by the strategy group is to establish a follow-up working group or a new boardat GEOMAR, which can focus on diversity and define the pressing issues of the near future as well as develop specific measures to tackle them. “We need an analysis of the situation and to develop measures that support individuals of diverse genders and disabled persons as well as all other disadvantaged groups of people“, says Professor Alexandra Worden, who was part of the working group. “Only then can we better identify discriminating structures from within and bring forward the human perspective that is fundamental for ‘Team GEOMAR’“, adds Professor Worden.
“An important aspect is to sensitize people to various aspects that may prevent an inclusive working culture”, remarks Dr. Kısakürek Ibsen. “It can be a real eye opener to learn about the unconscious biases woven into our thinking or about intercultural competences needed for effective leadership”, adds Prof. Worden. The working group suggested trainings to be made immediately available to the personnel department as well as to the research and support leaders since they act as facilitators and can inspire the broader GEOMAR community to support diversity.
“GEOMAR values diversity and therefore will sign the Charter of Diversity, which has been already signed by more than 3,800 companies and institutions in Germany”, states Professor Katja Matthes, the director of GEOMAR. “Signing this charter will express a commitment of GEOMAR to implement its 6 principles towards creating an appreciative work environment for all our employees. In addition, the charter will provide a networking platform for exchange of best practices with other institutions”, concludes Professor Matthes.