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What is diversity?

Encompassing the notions of plurality and heterogeneity, the term 'diversity' describes the differences and commonalities which exist among people. At Charité, 'diversity' means recognizing the benefits of a diverse staff and student body, and learning to respect and value the diversity of others. The concept of diversity goes beyond the groups covered by anti-discrimination legislation. Diversity affects everyone and is all-inclusive.

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Diversity as normalcy in the global world

In modern and growing societies, diversity is more the norm. Diversity should therefore be treated with interest and viewed as a welcome enrichment. Diversity orientation can be of great benefit for individuals as well as for companies. Supporting diversity and developing potentials directs attention to people's resources, their talents and their expertise (see diagram).

Organizations can benefit from languages, experiences based on age, emotional and transcultural competence, resilience, perseverance and much more. Likewise, in the course of life, all people can themselves be affected by the devaluation within one of the diversity dimensions at one point or another:

  • We will all age, may experience impairments or disabilities, or chronic illnesses.
  • Half of the (world) population are women and many of them do family and care work in addition to their job.
  • Our worldview can come into conflict with the environment or the political system. Many of us know stories of flight, displacement or exclusion from our own families.

We also see our task as a diversity network in reflecting those social “norms”, processes and regulations that devalue people in their diversity or in their “being different”.

diversity - dimensions

The diversity network is based on the characteristics of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), we expand the characteristics (dimensions) presented in the AGG to include the dimension of “social origin”. For us, this feature is decisive for the access conditions (training, further education, university, health and care, health services)

The diversity network takes a comprehensive look at the diversity characteristics:

We are referring to multiple discrimination (intersectional approach), which shows the entanglement of diversity characteristics. As an important part of our reflection and attitude, we refer to historically evolved social (power) relationships that determine and secure existing social dominance distributions and thus social inequalities. Our aim is not to corroborate identity attributions as much as possible, but on the contrary to recognize changing (context-dependent) assignments, affiliations and self-determined identities. All people have multiple affiliations and non-affiliations and different identifications, e.g. leader, single parent, transsexual, etc. We are well aware of the risks of unreflected assignments and external ascriptions that can distort people's perception. On the other hand, the diversity characteristics also offer orientation in order to make disadvantaged or underrepresented groups of people visible, to uncover barriers and to initiate inclusion and equal opportunities with appropriate concepts.