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Gender equity at the Berlin University of the Arts

Dear students, employees and teaching staff of the Berlin University of the Arts,

This summer, StuPa, AStA, the Commission for Equal Opportunities and the Women's Representative developed measures for more gender equity at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin). These measures are based on the statute for equal opportunities, which was unanimously adopted by the Academic Senate in May 2020.

We are very pleased to present to you the innovations that are currently being gradually implemented in close cooperation with university management, the relevant departments and other areas of the university.

Gender-sensitive language
From now on, neutral forms of address and wordings (and in German the “gender star” / Gendersternchen*) will be used in university correspondence, documents, forms, contracts and on all university platforms. Gender-sensitive adaptation of text on the website has already begun. A handbook offers all editors, teaching staff and employees support in using gender-sensitive language and avoiding discriminatory speech and spellings. Forms are also being gradually adapted.

Addition of the options "diverse" and "not specified"
In all forms, certificates, statistics, databases, contracts and correspondence of the UdK Berlin, the options "diverse" and "not specified" are to be added, included, and recognized when specifying gender or form of address. It is particularly important to ensure that gender-neutral forms of address are used in future correspondence with persons listed under "diverse" in the UdK Berlin database. The changeover in the systems is now taking place gradually.    

Recognition of a self-chosen first name
An individual's ID documents do not always reflect their gender identity. While a person’s name and/or marital status has not been changed officially - or this  is not being pursued because those affected do not wish to undergo this stressful process - all trans*, inter* and non-binary people may have their self-chosen first name and other self-chosen personal data recognized with a dgti supplementary identity card.

This applies to all application, recruitment and admission procedures. It applies during the course and to the graduation process at the UdK Berlin (e.g. student ID cards, certificates and e-mail accounts and other online communication). With a supplementary ID card, entry into the student or staff register can also be changed at a later date by presenting the supplementary ID card to the IPA or Personnel Department, who will implement the change. The departments are working on implementing these changes.

In combination with an official identity card, the dgti supplementary identity card is an identification document recognized by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI). It contains all self-chosen personal data as well as a current passport photo. It features three languages (German, French and English), which allows it to be used when travelling abroad. The application process for the supplementary identity card is very simple. To apply, go to:

Gender-neutral toilets
University management has decided to introduce up to 50% gender-neutral toilets at all teaching locations of the UdK Berlin, in addition to separate toilets for men and women. A concept on how this will be implemented in practice has been developed together with the building management, and the specifics depend on the location; the test phase will start at the beginning of the teaching period.

This means that starting in November 2020, some of the toilets will be converted to "all-gender toilets"; no structural adjustments will initially be made. There will still be separate toilets for women and men as well as staff toilets. At the same time, the accessible toilets will be modernized on a building-by-building basis and redesigned to comply with applicable regulations.

The UdK Berlin is one of the first universities in Berlin to take these important steps, thus making a stand against discrimination and for the equality of all genders. 

Prof. Dr. Norbert Palz, President of the UdK Berlin and the AG for Gender Equity at the UdK Berlin