Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - The Central Women's Representative

Transcript of the Panel Discussion on the Topic 'Diversity in Economics: Perspectives from Science and Practice

On this page you can find the English translation of the panel discussion on 'Diversity in Economics: Perspectives from Science and Practice' which took place on July 5th, 2023 from 6.30-8 p.m. in the Heilig-Geist-Kapelle in the School of Business and Economics, Spandauer Str. 1, 10178 Berlin.

Transcript of the panel discussion "Diversity in Economics: Perspectives from Science and Practice" on July 5th, 2023 in the Heilig-Geist-Kapelle in the School of Business and Economics, Spandauer Str. 1, 10178 Berlin. The panel discussion is part of the pilot project "Chancengleichheit Intersectional" ('Equal Opportunities Intersectional') at the Faculty of Economics at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Moderator: Melanie Bittner

Panellists: Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau, Lucy Larbi, Prof. Dr. Daniel Guhl, Dome Ravina Olivo and Hannah Nitsch

Melanie Bittner: Hello. Good evening. My mic seems to be working. Can you hear me well? Excellent. Great. Welcome to the event "Diversity in Economics: Perspectives from Science and Practice". I still have to get used to the reverb a bit, but it won't take that long.

My name is Melanie Bittner. I am a consultant for gender, diversity and anti-discrimination culture and I have the opportunity to moderate today's event. However, the event was organized by Svea Horn here in the front row who is implementing a pilot project on diversity at the Humboldt University here at the faculty. Many of you may already know her.

I would like to start by introducing our panellists who we were delighted to have had them agree to join our discussion tonight. We have very different perspectives represented and I'm really looking forward to your questions and the discussion afterwards. That means that we will first have a bit of a discussion on the panel, for a maximum of sixty minutes, and then we will also open the discussion to questions, comments, additions and experiences from you. [pause]

Good. Everyone looks totally ready. [laughter] Great. I am going to introduce the external guests first and I will start with Lucy Larbi, two seats down from me. Lucy is a political scientist, studied at the United Nations University, among other places, and works as a consultant for a management consultant, but also as a freelance consultant for diversity and agility plus. She co-founded the non-profit association Future of Ghana Germany and is also involved with AiDiA. This is a spin-off from Future of Ghana Germany and it is the first Afro-German start-up pitch. [pause]

Dome Ravina Olivo on the side is a diversity trainer and has a degree in gender studies and social sciences. Probably here at the Humboldt Uni, did I assume that correctly with the combination of subjects? Exactly. The focus is on dealing with anti-discrimination and plurality in public institutions, especially in educational institutions, such as universities. The work is strongly influenced by a critical-race and gender-sensitive perspective that takes multiple discriminations into account.

So, maybe I will say it again, I will just introduce them all very briefly. Everyone did a lot of other interesting, important things, but I didn't want to take up too much space at the beginning.

Hannah Nitsch is a master's student here at the faculty, also did her bachelor's degree here at the faculty and was a decentralized women's representative for one and a half years. She is a member of the relatively young initiative "Women in Economics at Humboldt University".

Daniel Guhl, junior professor of business administration, in particular consumer behaviour, works at the interface between marketing and psychology, but has also worked for a start-up and various universities and is a member of the Collaborative Research Centre "Rationality and Competition".

And Sulin Sardoschau, also a junior professor here at the Faculty of Migration Economics. She heads the Department of Economic Migration and Integration Research at the BIM, which, I must read this out loud, is the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research. She is a member of a wide variety of organisations, including the Minorities in Economics Committee of the European Economic Association, which I found particularly relevant for our event. And she received the prize for good teaching in the 2021 summer semester. [pause] Yes, teaching is underrated at universities, so I think it's good to point that out.

Many organisations have been increasingly concerned with diversity in recent years. Many universities now also have vice presidents for diversity, have staff positions for diversity, have mission statements, concepts, and so on. In German, diversity can be translated as “Diversität” or “Vielfalt”. There are very different arguments for diversity, with arguments for justice, but also with economic arguments. Some love the term for being so vague and imprecise, others are particularly fond of criticizing it for just that.

I would actually start by collecting a few impressions of what our guests understand by diversity, as a short warm-up. Would you mind being first and then we'll just take it in turns, is that alright? Excellent.

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Well, for me, diversity is a partial concept of plurality, different groups with different markers interact with each other. So that range from gender to self-perceived or read identity, religious identity. And I don't think diversity is so well defined, at least not in economics. Many papers use this very vaguely and define it very differently. I haven't yet decided for myself whether I think the term is good or bad and I'm happy to learn about it from experts, so yes.

Melanie Bittner: Yes, thank you very much. Hannah Nitsch.

Hannah Nitsch: For me, diversity is actually something that should be there because it is something that we somehow see in our society and that is reflected; where I sometimes find it a bit sad that it is still so big needs to be discussed. On the other hand, I also find it very important, especially in economics, because we are often very heteronormative. As I said, I'm not an expert in this area either, but I'm essentially of the opinion and I'm slowly beginning to see that visibility is being strengthened and that we hopefully don't have to explicitly discuss and talk about diversity forever, but that it is somehow just given and becomes a fact.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. [pause]

Prof. Dr. Daniel Guhl: Okay, so I actually only associate a lot of positive things with diversity because both during my time at universities and in a start-up where I worked, diversity was actually the topic of diversity among the people who worked or researched or taught or studied there, actually always only positively. So things always went better in the start-up when you brought different people together who worked on things together and when you put everyone in one room who is somehow not diverse enough, no new ideas come out of it.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. Lucy Larbi.

Lucy Larbi: Yes, thank you very much. For me, diversity is actually the light-footed occurrence of differences and diversity. Just so that nobody has to feel like the elephant in the room.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. [pause, noise]

Dome Ravina Olivo: [whispered] Thank you. [normal volume] For me, diversity is - I think I'm quoting a slogan of the city, lived diversity and actually existing plurality. However, we're going to get to talk, talk about what Professor Sardoschau meant, well, right, there are different interpretations of this term and there are certain interpretations that I certainly don't think reflect and mean that plurality in its sincerity and I believe to such an understanding I am - [unintelligible].

Melanie Bittner: Thank you for the first impressions. I have the impression that we could actually start discussing this now. But I have a few more questions. And, because our panellists work on quite different topics, I'm going to ask them one after the other, so to speak, not alternately at the moment, and I'll start with Dome Ravina Olivo.

You do a lot of educational work on diversity and anti-discrimination, which means it's also about conveying an understanding of diversity, raising awareness of diversity and anti-discrimination. Can you tell us a bit more about what you teach in a diversity training course or, so to speak, in a further education course that also deals with diversity.

Dome Ravina Olivo: Yes, of course. Well, I mediate, or try to mediate, I would like to mediate, a positive understanding of - Well, for me, discrimination - Exactly, the slip of the tongue, diversity without discrimination, is unthinkable. And, exactly, I- The research shows, and also my experience in the field, workshops, education, political education, that people often have a wrong understanding of discrimination. Namely one that is, for example, based solely on interaction between individual people or intend, i.e. I would have to want to, essentially want to discriminate, in order for discrimination to take place. It only expresses itself physically, can be found on the fringes of society rather than being inherent in society, so to speak- This society is built on and through discrimination.

And discrimination as a social fact cannot be gotten rid of, and, or rather, if we act against it, that is, act against it and fight for it, right. And also that somehow only a purely cognitive intellectual examination of discrimination removes discrimination. And what I contrast this with a complex understanding of discrimination, which, as I mentioned earlier, sees discrimination as a social fact and also recognizes the chances and possibilities in appreciating this, this complexity, and not just diversity as, to see diversity/discrimination as something that is somehow an additive collection of different terms. Right. That was it.

Melanie Bittner: Yes. You've already mentioned learning about diversity and also said that it's not just about specialist knowledge, cognitive knowledge, i.e. not just about data, for example. Who is, who is represented at universities? Who has professorships? Who doesn't have a professorship? Who is a student? Which subjects? Who, who doesn't study at all, because there might already be a barrier beforehand? That means when we say that diversity is not only about cognitive knowledge, is it also about emotional knowledge, about our experiences, about us as a person. How does this affect learning about diversity? Is that, is that helpful? Does that sometimes make it difficult? Can you tell us a bit about it; maybe what reactions you could know, observe...

Dome Ravina Olivo: I think, well, I mean something that you don't often hear when you talk about diversity, is that this variety, this plurality, is that resources are also at stake here. And resources are also associated with power and dominance structures, which are not- What do you call that? Well, they're, they're inexhaustible- [pause] I have the word- [unintelligible comment from the off] Exactly, they're scarce, thank you. [laughs] They are scarce and you know that best when you come from economics and-

Exactly, that means, for example, those who have more resources, to put it very simply, very easily - well, if there are people who have a lot of resources, then there are automatically people who have fewer resources. And how this distribution of resources is somehow set up and, exactly, I think about it, thinking about it and having these conversations and having these discussions, I think, that is something that is not very easy for people in general, for all of us, because it affects us all, of course.

Well, we are part of this diversity and exactly- Well, for example, I am very often not accused of using a very academic language, but I get feedback like that. And I- it's not easy for me to accept that, because for me it was sort of a resource to somehow gain respect or recognition in a certain context. At the same time, however, it is a barrier that I create for people who, for example, do not exist in the university context and who I would like to take with me in the things that I do and the content that I want to convey and those with whom I work and exactly-

So that means, I think diversity, that is, dealing with discrimination and diversity in relation to emotions, well, that does a lot with us. And also because, if it is serious or is meant seriously, it also includes power and dominance or reflection on it. And I also think that sometimes people- Or what I also observe is that people very often kind of have this wish, if I deal with something cognitively and intellectually a lot, then-

I mean that's also a very, somewhat, from very to somewhat [laughs], a western assumption. Well, like “I have mastered a topic” and I think it’s rather bad with this topic because then we somehow forget things. And I think those are at least two aspects that I care a lot about, when dealing with diversity and discrimination and people in my work.

Melanie Bittner: Well, I hear that we have to put up with quite a lot of ambivalence when it comes to diversity. And I don't know if you checked social media a bit today. The reduction in parental allowance for particularly high-earning parents is currently being discussed. Now I would say that the discussion that is taking place is a prime example, so to speak. Seeing, understanding whose situation, arguing how, well, concerns us or, yes, our society concerns every day.

I'd like to ask you one last question, and that's about colleges, about universities. In your opinion, what can universities do to really make diversity a reality? Well, it is often a point of criticism that diversity is presented in detail on the website and in glossy brochures, well maybe not so much in print anymore, but in a figurative sense in glossy brochures, but that it is then in the organisation somehow not so obvious, to feel, to see. From your point of view, what would be particularly important and what would you perhaps use as a criterion to decide "Is this university serious about diversity? Is this faculty serious?”

Dome Ravina Olivo: Well, I think, I mean we all have- Well, there is, there is a legal framework. We all have rights and I believe that in this sense, bans on discrimination and the equality requirement are not enough, for example, to combat discrimination and to advocate for diversity. And I think universities, colleges, the university, i.e. universities in general, are very good at speaking the so-called 'diversity talk'. And somehow, they say, well, on their, on their websites, to speak up for diversity etc., but not then actually change anything materially.

And I would- Well, for example, Professor Maisha Auma, Professor of Childhood and Diversity Studies, said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel, I think in 2020, she, she illustrated the inequality at universities and mostly related to racialisation, racism and- And I would say in mid-2023 we haven't progressed that much. So, in Germany, the average of, for example, the proportion of professors, scientists, in, there, in, that is, in not precarious conditions, jobs, is somehow much lower than the proportion of male scientific staff, not to mention BIPOC, i.e. people racialised as “non-white”.

I think, I would take a, a university seriously that doesn't stay on the discursive level, but that changes things materially, that opens up spaces like this one, where people, the resources - like what you mentioned, the discussion about parental allowance for parents who earn well. Exactly, I don't think people who have a lot of resources at universities and colleges tend to be here. And right- I, I think it needs, it also needs strenuous arguments, which are very connected with ambivalences and contradictions, in order to really get ahead, beyond speaking.

Melanie Bittner: A colleague of mine, Günther Vedder from Hamburg, always says “You have to be able to endure diversity”. Thank you, I would like to continue with Hannah Nitsch. You know the faculty very well as a student and former decentralised women's representative. So in the office of women's representative you get quite a lot of insight into things that happen in an organisation. What did you learn about diversity during your studies here, i.e. in the formal part of your studies, and what would you like to learn? What have you been missing, are you missing? You are also still, still in the master's program.

Hannah Nitsch: Yes, basically what I learned can be summed up quickly: relatively little. But I would claim that this is not necessarily due to the fact that nobody is interested in it, or that the lecturers are not interested either, but perhaps it has more to do with the orientation of the course that we have here. I can only compare it with my semester when I studied abroad, where we went in a different direction in the sense that I had the feeling, especially during the bachelor's degree, that the teaching was very theoretical.

So and who are the theories from? When are the theories from? Well, mostly from men, at least from those who are known. What the women were doing in the background is another question, and they're from, say, the twentieth, early twentieth century. That means diversity wasn't an issue. Or not a big issue, at least not something you hear anything about.

If you kind of look at a Solow growth equation, it's not about “Okay, what are people’s gender or where are people from or are they migrants or are they native?” All of that is not an issue. That means, my [unintelligible] according to my understanding, there is sometimes simply not the framework to deal with it. I think there are some who- Thank you. [laughs] Those who try, I think that's a group that Sulin represents. I'm also doing a course with her right now, full transparency, which already has the title “applied” within its title. And that's one of the exceptions here at the faculty.

To go back to the semester abroad: I was in London. It's a different system, you work differently. And it's much more about looking at "Okay, what is the current research? What is being done? What is currently happening? What are the researchers dealing with?” And it's much more of a topic because, as I said, I don't think there's a lack of interest, but rather a lack of framework.

There are enough researchers who deal with such questions. There is a Gender Economics course in Potsdam. Well, I would assume that it's not very theoretical either, but that it's much more about looking at current issues, because this topic of diversity hasn't been present in economics for that long, as far as I know. And then you can't just look at the theories from a hundred years ago, you might also have to look at what is currently being done.

Melanie Bittner: It's also very interesting, because it was actually one of the disciplines that was the first to take up diversity in German science, but it may have remained rather small and quiet, nonetheless. I took a look at the equality concept of the faculty and faculties in Berlin all have to do that, I think every two years? Do you know that by chance? I think it needs to be published every two years. And there are also a few numbers that refer exclusively to gender relations, and gender is also understood in binary terms. So, so to speak, I'm not quoting that because I don't think there are more than two genders, but because the data didn't take that into account.

The proportion of women among students is almost 45 percent, among scientific staff at 48 percent and among doctoral students 44.6 percent. It's all relatively close, I'd say. But it gets really interesting when it comes to professorships and especially when you leave out the junior professorships. Then 27 out of 30 professorships are occupied by men. That's ten percent women. The average in Germany is 25 percent. Of course, it depends a lot on the, of course it depends a lot on the subjects. It is more balanced with the junior professorships. Well, I don't want to hide that now, the more positive numbers that also exist.

Hannah Nitsch, from your point of view, what are the important gender equality policy demands for this leaky pipeline that always happens with the transition to the higher level, especially with the professorships, so many women disappear then, not suddenly, but are no longer there?

Hannah Nitsch: I find it generally difficult to say, "Okay, you need this and that." I'm still included in the very good quota, so it doesn't fail because there aren't enough youngsters. I can say what I was confronted with in appointment procedures and the like and it is not, at least according to my understanding or the way I perceived it, it is not because there is a lack of commitment or because you do not want women or more women to be appointed.

As I understand it, it's more of a structural problem, as I said, I don't have the experience. What I have heard, or what there is also in regard to research and opinions, is that women tend to have a harder time, not only in economics, but perhaps even more so there, because at some point there will be fewer and fewer people to be heard. Be it at conferences where some papers are presented, that they are criticised more, that they are generally more often seen as the bad guys when they are loud and when they speak their mind, and the men are seen as expressive and efficient and great and ambitious. This is not a problem, which is specific to economics, but, as I said, is particularly acute due to this large discrepancy.

And if the evaluation criteria for an appointment procedure are "we look at the top publications" and there is a structural disadvantage in a certain sense, then the logical conclusion is that women will probably not be appointed or have significantly worse chances. And there were really efforts to create parity in the application process, but at some point it becomes difficult and in the end you can't appoint people based only on their gender and I don't think that's the way to do it either.

The question is whether one should somehow consider introducing a quota. I don't want to give an opinion now, or I don't want to comment on whether this is good or bad. I think there are positive and negative examples and it is not up to me to discuss it here from my perspective, but to the best of my knowledge this discussion has not even happened so far. And that's probably not a decision that a faculty can make, but it has to happen at a higher level. That would be the only instrument I could think of. I think everything else you can do is create visibility, deal with the topic, as we are doing here right now.

But when I look around, they are all rather younger. Well, as I said, it has already been said that those who have a lot of money here and those who make decisions are probably not there. That means I would say it is a process and I would say it will take a while before you can achieve anything with impact. I think the first steps are being taken right now, but I don't know when we will see the fruits of it, so to speak. I'm guessing at least ten years.

Melanie Bittner: I heard that, in any case, those who are in management positions are, are addressed, so to speak, have to become active, and I heard it again, keyword “unconscious bias”. So, this different assessment, when women and men do the same thing, to be perceived differently and in such a way that that might still be an issue that is something we can carry forward. I actually wanted to ask you how you perceive the interest in the faculty, but you already said something about that [laughter]. I would like to move on to Lucy Larbi .

Now we've been swimming back and forth in our university swamp for a while. You work primarily with companies and advise on how diversity can be implemented sustainably. From your point of view, what are the key hurdles why companies, and especially management positions, are so much less diverse than our society in Germany actually is? What are the main hurdles?

Lucy Larbi: Yes. Thanks very much. By the way- Oh, that's even better. [laughs] Yes, that's a good question. [microphone turns off]

Melanie Bittner: [About Lucy Larbi's microphone] It kind of keeps turning off. [pause]

Lucy Larbi: Now again. Right. Maybe it's important to say again in principle, right, that I work with companies. I actually also anti-discrimination- [pause] That's what the mic didn’t want- The mic didn't want me to say that.

Melanie Bittner: Swap with someone, exactly.

Lucy Larbi: Let’s swap them.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you.

Lucy Larbi: Thank you. [pause] Exactly, I'm not that well-versed in that. I really care about the question "How do we get companies to be more diverse so that they actually reflect society?" And in society we have about 30 percent of the people a migration background, who have either moved here or have parents who have a migration background and then had children here, like me, for example. Well, not me, but my parents have a migration background and I practically grew up here. And the question is why isn't this number actually reflected in the companies? And your question now is what are the concrete hurdles, right?

Yes, as with everything, it's actually very complex and, as people like to say, multifactorial, but one thing is that companies, in my opinion, and that's also very important, what I share, that's all my observation and subjective perception. I didn't do any research. I just observe a lot. And in companies, this is actually exactly the place where the meritocracy comes together. And in order to be part, part of the meritocracy, I have to meet certain requirements. And one thing is usually somehow a university degree, a good education and then I'm a talent that can create added value in my company.

That means we already have the hurdle, so to speak, that only a certain persona, i.e. people who are highly qualified and also bring a personality, can be successful in companies. But in order to be so successful and to correspond to this persona, I have to go through a career, so to speak, that not everyone can go through. So to speak, already in elementary school, a recommendation for the 'Gymnasium' and then a good Abitur and then to university and then to get through university and recieve a good degree and then also, that is, to excel.

That sounds easy at first. But you can't do that so much if you're not privileged. It's sort of a big topic. I'm not going to go into that too much now, but will go back to other points. The other point is also the network idea. People recruit people who look like them. And it means that if we have companies and people in management positions, who- I'll say the prototype, what we always like to say these days, the white cis-man over 40, who recruits his peers, his likeness.

That's why, when you just said "quota", just very briefly, it's super exciting. A little anecdote I discussed with a friend about quotas: what men always like to say is "No, we want qualified staff, we don't want, so to speak, people who are on a board because of their disadvantage" and then my friend said very cleverly "Well, but the men on the board also recruit themselves.” [laughs] Well, that's actually a different quota, but they're not qualified either, they just know each other.


And right - and that's why, exactly that - well, the network idea leads to the fact that the same people work in the companies and then, I would say the no-brainers. So, the topic of corporate culture, the question "Do I feel invited if nobody looks like me?" Maybe I have a physical disability, a physical limitation, maybe I have, I'm neurodivergent, I think that’s the correct term, I don't know all the terminologies either. But if I don't correspond to the normal picture, then the question is "Do I want to build up this resilience in order to be accepted there, to assert myself there?" And then, if necessary, yes, to be accepted. That's just a huge, a huge effort that I have to make in order to be able to survive in a company like this.

Yes, oh, and so on, and so on, and so on. So, there are various hurdles. Basically, there are many invisible hurdles that you don't see. The room is actually open to everyone. The question is can a woman be on the board? A person who is in a wheelchair can also be on the board. It doesn't say anywhere that it isn't. That means the question, what are all the invisible hurdles that exist.

Melanie Bittner: Hmmm, all the informal criteria [Lucy Larbi: Exactly] They play a role. Thank you very much. You co-founded two very exciting organisations and are still active in them, Future of Ghana Germany and AiDiA, where you address Afro-German people and black people in particular. I might ask specifically about that as well. Well, you just said, well, diversity includes so many different aspects and maybe also to prevent us from always throwing everyone into the same pot, so to speak, [Lucy Larbi: Yes] and trying to differentiate a bit. Why are Afro-Germans in the German economy, and you can actually apply that to universities, as well, but we would like to talk about companies now, so little visible? [Lucy Larbi: Yes] So yes, simply so underrepresented? Representation matters.

Lucy Larbi: Yes. By the way, if I speak too fast, you have to give me a short sign. Sometimes it goes a bit faster than I would like. The question why they are not, so little visible, yes. Exactly. So that's exactly why I founded the association and also initiated AiDiA. So our tagline, so to speak, our tagline is "Make Black people visible where they aren't visible." Why? Because they too are part of society, but you hardly see them. And the question is always: "Where are they? What are you doing?"

Even when I was studying back then, of course, I was always the only black person in my course. I was also the only black person at my school. It never bothered me, I have to admit, but of course, when I reflect on it, I asked myself "Why, actually?" Because there are - I have quite a lot of black friends and they're all pretty smart and pretty cool actually and the question is "What are they doing?" And why are they underrepresented? This is now a slightly longer ponytail. They said we have 60 minutes. [laughter] I'll try to sum it up in three minutes.

Melanie Bittner: [amused] That would be great.

Lucy Larbi: Yes, exactly. Maybe it is, I only have two questions [laughs] answered then. But it actually comes a little bit from what I said at the beginning. The issue of privilege is very, very important. That's just about- The question is, well, where visible at all, yes. Let’s say in London or in Paris, I'm happy there - it's quite normal there that black people,  let’s say work at the bakery and at the, I have no idea what I was, where I was - earlier on the train my ticket was checked by a black conductor and it was so weird. Our looks were like "Huh? What are you doing here? What are you doing here?” That was pretty strange, because we are not familiar with yet, because I just don't know it myself.

The question of why- Exactly, that is, only those who are visible take place. And if I, but if I am seen as a black person and also as an assumed black person, I have two, I usually have two battles. One is that I'm just underrepresented and I know that, and the other is that I can't differentiate between what is, so to speak, bad behavior, what is, so to speak, human, bad behavior and what really is racism. At some point you can no longer separate them from each other. And I wouldn't accuse everyone that everyone who looks at me askance, so to speak, is racist or discriminatory. But at some point, because I as a person, as a black person, have had so many experiences, at some point you can no longer distinguish them from one another.

Why does that add up to the question? Because in order to be visible, I have to have something, so to speak, that I am convinced that I am part of society. I feel accepted, I also want to present what I have to present. But most people are busy proving that they are not what others think they are. And that's quite a - It's a great effort to constantly prove that I'm not what you, what I supposedly think I am. That's also very important, maybe the person thinks nothing at all but actually just to be visible in my full competence and visible - my radiance.

Well, that's why there is also FoG Germany and also AiDiA, because my goal is to make black people visible in their full competence in order to change the narrative. I believe very, very strongly that diversity is actually one of the big levers to create a resonance, basically. I should have said that at the beginning. I think diversity should actually create resonance. Means to be very, very empathetic and to listen and watch and see, who am I actually reaching out to and how am I reaching out to another person?

I [unintelligible], for example, a person now- You here are looking over with interest, I can tell. I just see that nobody is on the phone, then I also notice, okay, then, then some people are listening. But it could also be that- So how do I manage to create, let’s say with different, with the variety that is sitting in front of me, how do I create resonance? And resonance is nothing other than having a radio station and then, then not getting the right radio station and then having the shhhhh, the conversation, the noise all the time, but then really switching to a station. And the more diverse I am the more attentive and empathetic I have to be in order to make this connection with everyone in the room.

And, and now I didn't answer the questions, but sort of in conclusion, I think the economic space is one of the best spaces to change narratives about black people. And I also believe that rooms like this always attract people who are interested anyway. People- And it's also very intellectualised, academicised, and it always reaches the same people, and just like you said, the ones who aren't here, they're not here for a reason. And I believe that we can achieve this by showing innovation, by showing competence, with a lot of charisma and actually showing how we drive German innovative strength. In short. [laughs] Well, not quite, but- [laughter]

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much for the short version. [Laughs] We might still have time in the discussion.

Lucy Larbi: Yes, exactly.

Melanie Bittner: For a longer version then. But I would still like to ask a question because I've already asked the other two. Concerning options for action, so to speak, the "What to do?" What can organisations, companies, no matter what the measures are, most of them work very well, very specifically in different areas, to become more diverse and to remain more diverse, so people don't just notice, so to speak "Oh, I can't be the way I am here. Am I perhaps not in the right place here after all?” and leave again. So what is there, so what are the measures?

Lucy Larbi: So I have three measures that I work with. These are- The first measure is to build up a contingent for potential. We recruit for talent, also for ‘finished’ people who, yes, add value. But there are numerous potentials. People who have the potential to be able to show their talent. Because of these structural barriers and also insecurities and whatever else is there, they are not yet able to use this potential. This is a concrete measure, so to speak, where you can really work with a really great organisation, such as ours, where we have a careers orientation, where we have a lot of young black people. For us, too, it's now primarily about black people. You can also work with other organisations that work with people with disabilities, or with older, more senior people, so that you can do that, you can open a contingent in recruiting and say, “We don’t just recruit talent, but also potential.”

The second is relationship building. That's actually the most important thing because with diversity it's the most important thing, and you have to think of inclusion there, there's always the question "Who's coming to my party? But who's staying at my party?" And most companies don’t manage to invite anyone to the party and then they certainly don't manage to play the right songs that make several people want to stay. And how do I do that? I do that by building a relationship and getting to know this group and showing genuine interest and, I would say, getting to know the characteristics of these groups in order to invite them to a the party, i.e. to the company, and then that they actually stay there. What does a person with a physical disability need to stay? What does a, a, a single mother need? What does a single father need to stay? So, really caring about those things and building that relationship.

And the third is the inner work. The inner work is the self-image of the company, i.e. “What do we personally understand by diversity and inclusion?” Because, exactly, it, well, there are several definitions, but I think it is very important that we, to clarify for the company at the start and then set up pilot projects. Also, very clear goals that we then set ourselves, which we then work out in a transformation process. For example: "We want to see next year, I don’t know, 17% of our employees should work for us, having graduated from the following course". Or "We want more, we want single mothers", "We want people with a religious background" and etc. And that we set that as a goal and then base a transformation process on it. These are the three concrete ones. So, build relationships, recruit according to potential and the inner work.

Melanie Bittner: And then, three years later, we will probably look at the goals to see whether they have been achieved and, if not, counteract them, so to speak.

Lucy Larbi: Well, that, you can - you have to do it iteratively. So, I, that- Agile working comes naturally, so no one is diverse and it's not like we can do it overnight. That's one way to get there and we're working on it iteratively, in cycles, two-week intervals. Then we- Then we look at everything, how far we've come and then adapt it. Yes, it is very, very important that it doesn't say "we'll be like this the day after tomorrow", but that you should be agile and flexibly adjust the goals again and again.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. Daniel Guhl, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about teaching first, because in you preliminary, our preliminary talk you also went into some case studies that you consider in teaching and that you also try to look at through a diversity lens. Can you tell us a little bit more, how do you go about that? Do you choose more successful examples? Do you tend to choose examples that can then somehow be jointly criticized? Are there perhaps also examples where this cannot be decided so clearly? And how do the students react? I would love to include that as well.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Guhl: Okay. I'll try to answer in a somewhat structured way. And maybe the last point- [pause] I started out as a junior professor. That was right before the pandemic started, so a lot of my teaching experience now over the last few years is based around a time where I was either just uploading videos or kind of doing zoom calls from time to time with 50 black tiles in front of me. So what I would like to emphasise is that in some cases the response from the students was not as great as I might have wished. And even now, somehow- My classes have 250 people enrolled, but I think I had 30 in a class last Monday. And that means something, doesn't it? In other words, I would say that the people I get feedback from, it's not just a random sample of all the people who somehow attend the courses in general.

I would say it's two-fold for me. I have one, I have two courses in the bachelor's degree. One is more of a methodical course. I think that's relatively neutral because it's simply about methods. I think that- I'm just thinking about whether I have any examples where diversity or gender, background, or something like that plays a role, but I can't think of anything right now. The other course, consumer behaviour, is of course completely different, because it deals a little with how marketing works today or how things have arisen that are still common today.

And that's when I found out that it's not easy to give specific examples in order to convey the somewhat antiquated, antiquated theories in general. On the other hand, I also see it as a mirror of our society. So I think it's wrong or I think it's wrong if things are left out. The focus just has to be on showing what is being done there and what the intention is and why it unfortunately still works to show certain images of people in advertising.

And I think that's a bit of a balancing act, which I always try to express clearly, in my opinion, and those who know me from my events know that I'm quite willing from time to time to joke. [pause] And that certain things are complex and still obviously problematic today. I can remember last year, there was the Andrew Tate case and I already realise that when I say "Hey, how is it that someone like that has millions of followers on social media", it's already a topic, which I'm trying to address or at least to mention in some way. And from the reaction of the students, I think I can at least guess that it becomes clear what my attitude is towards it. I am not sure I have answered all of your questions.

Melanie Bittner: I think so. [laughs] You have - I'll stay, I'll stay with the teaching again for a moment, because you said that you don't want to think of learning as a one-way street, but also want to see who can learn what from whom here, so to speak. I know that from my own experience - I sometimes do workshops with lecturers and teachers and they sometimes say that they want to deal with linguistical forms of gender. So asterisks, etc., because the students already know it really well and because they somehow feel insecure about it themselves. So this is an example where I really know it from teachers and lecturers, so to speak. But what, what are examples where you have noticed that you can learn from students. Is there a relation to the diversity of the students, which is greater than the diversity of the lecturers, after all. Yes, how does this back and forth work?

Prof. Dr. Daniel Guhl: Well, cases that I can think of right now, in the courses, where it's more about somehow out of data, trying to understand consumers better, to understand consumers better with the help of data, that I always am being approached by students and then hear something like "Hey, I'm doing this" or "My parents are doing this, how can we somehow improve our service?" or "How can we somehow improve this with the data we have, find out how we should do XYZ?” and there are often things that come up that I've never thought about before, because my background is a bit, okay then- Well, data science, machine learning for the retailers that are well known here in Germany. And that's maybe something different compared to people who, I don't know, are out and about on some social media platforms, maybe also doing things that should only be addressed to adults or maybe have parents who, I don't know, have, have a corner shop or something, then it's a bit of a different order of magnitude. And that often creates interesting situations, yes, and things that I hadn't really thought about before.

Melanie Bittner: Yes, simply interesting impulses and also learning a bit more in the process, which Lucy also emphasised, which is also correct in companies with diversity. Thanks very much.

I would then like to ask Sulin Sardoschau some things. Your area of research is migration economics. So you also deal with diversity in terms of content, at least if we now understand migration as part of diversity. Are you rather an exception in German economics, or is the discussion of migration, diversity, a matter of course in economics, so you can limit yourself to that, if that helps? How is that from your point of view?

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Well, there are of course topics that lend themselves to analysing diversity as some form of identity markers, visualisation, data, you can do that in labour market economics, you can do that in political economy, you can build that into everything, into everything that methodically allows it in the construct, in the method, yes? [Melanie Bittner: Hmm.]

But there are two levels of diversity thinking in economics. One is content and the other is epistemological. So how do you approach research and what are the structures? What are the historically evolved power structures that lead to a certain dominance of one theory over the other or one approach over the other? Why is it that in the so-called development economics, we throw in everything that is not OECD countries or Western countries?

Yes, well, the method is completely different, it's about behavioural science approaches, it's about labour market approaches. It's all sorts of things, but unfortunately, fact, that's in a country, so the data being collected from the country that's not Western makes it development economics, yes. And questioning things like that and saying why do we divide the fields like that? Why do we limit this in a certain way? Why do we use approaches that are different from other disciplines?

For example, when we're working with data, it's clear that we're doing simplification and automatic categorisation, right? So we put a number, indicators on individuals and they're sort of the sum of their indicators and at best we're still estimating interaction effects and that's it, yeah. That means that in principle we are always a bit limited in our methodical approach to how we can think about complexity.

That doesn't mean that economics is superfluous, on the contrary, but I think it's important to always say from this meta-perspective, "Why do we do things the way we do them?", "How do we differ from other disciplines?" And so if once we are clear about the structures and about the rules of the game that actually exist, with which we implicitly play along, then we can somehow start trying to push these boundaries a bit in this space. And that also includes- Of course, there are methodological approaches, but the question we are looking at is still in our hands.

And you can see very often even in these specialist areas or sub-areas of economics, such as political economy, where such things are offered, that is implicitly loads of assumptions that have grown out of structural, structural racism, which we then pour in our question and then analyse empirically, but- And, and then give the whole thing a touch of objectivity and thus somehow negate the underlying assumptions.

Yes, that means there is the meta perspective and then there is the content perspective and we have gotten much better in many areas over the last ten years, yes. And that's not just in my area, it's in many areas and now it's about feeding in this meta perspective, so to speak, so that we can think about it a bit holistically. But I definitely see a lot of research being done on this part, or more and more. And I think that's also very, very exciting for students, because it's somehow a bit more tangible than a theoretical [unintelligible] model. That's why you can find some connecting points there.

Melanie Bittner: That means - well, what you definitely still want more is, so to speak, this critical look at the discipline itself and how, how do we work, which methods do we take seriously or to what extent, how do we divide ourselves as a subject. [Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Yes, yes.] Okay. You are currently involved in a research project. That sounded really exciting in our preliminary talk, so I would also ask you to tell us a little more about that. It's about questioning faculties of economics in many European countries. If you could tell us a little bit more about the approach, reason and objective, because it's also a bit like "What do we actually know about economics?" Now data on gender relations, those I can present, but what maybe we don't know yet? What else do you want to find out?

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Well, I think I tie in with what was said before and I am very pleased that someone from the private sector is here so that we can do this whole, the disciplined enumeration of 1,2,3 and clearly structured, that's what I found very good. I think with us here, it's a little bit that we need something to be made visible, like before, in the private sector, so to speak.

You can do this with initiatives and with our very limited methods in economics and statistics, I see visualisation as simply establishing the status quo. Well, it's really unbelievable how often you have to establish and discuss a lack of representation at all before it's accepted. I think we're in a bubble here, we know ‘okay, something's going wrong’, but I was very surprised at how often you actually have to straighten out the super basics, yes.

That means first of all creating a status quo, understanding, where are they [unintelligible]? And that's exactly what you have with gender now, but no other statistics. About Muslim read men in the faculty, yes, or BIPOCs or people with a he- visual impairment, walking impairment, neurodivergent. All this is somehow not on people’s minds. And I think there are many reasons and I could go on for a long time about why white women were more able to penetrate this discourse and create movement and a bit of a momentum and why other groups aren’t, somehow, are not getting the momentum.

But I think that's easy [data] to collect, yes. And such a gender quota can be quite- 50/50 should actually be, be the target. You can collect this relatively easily with self-indicators. And I think a lot of it, that is so effective, is just that, there's visualisation there. And that's why we're trying to do a survey with the Association for Social Policy, which is the German women's economists' association and the counterpart to Europe, and that's among everyone, not just those affected, and to say "Okay, where do you stand?", "Where have you experienced discrimination?”, “What are your suggestions?” to simply say, “Okay, that's the status quo and we have to start here and there.” And that's the goal. And hopefully we can launch it in August and that's why I hope that everyone here, if they somehow get the link, will fill it out diligently so that we can go out there and say "Okay, there is a lack here. Something has to happen."

Melanie Bittner: Having some hard numbers to convince people. And maybe just as an addition, so when it comes to gender, the categorisation is also simplified. [Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Exactly.] That is now being criticised more and more. I actually have more questions for all of you on my list, but I would actually like to give you the opportunity to react to one another, to ask questions and to add to them. Is there something you definitely would like to talk about? Is there something you want to contradict or add? Yes, please.

Dome Ravina Olivo: Well, I studied international development in Vienna and it just reminded me of a seminar, I think it was development economics and I, and that's being exaggerated, but that was a bit of poverty research and then like that, kinda like that- Why do people tend to spend money on TVs when they are short of funds, for example, than on basic food? And I just, I don't think I was able to understand my life at that moment, well, like that, because I thought so I- These are actual assumptions by scientists that- Well, I- Exactly, so, so- Me, well, an understanding of, of humanity that's just kind of rational and, yes, based, well, or too imaginative. So I, I just- It kind of just reminded me of that in a very crass way. Like, what kind of reductive assumptions or of course racist and sexist and kind of abelistic and what not, and all sorts of things. But exactly that, which, yes, was not questioned in any way, because that, that was not the part where we should have asked our own questions, but that was already given. And based on that, then learn something else. And I think that, yes, visualisation and also somehow definitely question the epistemology, the knowledge systems behind these assumptions.

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: I have so much- [microphone goes off.] The microphone already knows [laughter]. Now that we're at the meta-level, we can look at this again, this discussion at the meta-level. Well, there's kind of greenwashing and pink-washing and what we do is kind of a bit of 'diversity washing', yes. And so- This must not become self-occupational therapy by people who are affected, yes. So, it cannot be that we are sitting here and are all people who have an affinity with this topic, who are affected themselves. And then we do our rounds and that's not a safe space. Nevertheless, we are not talking here, but we are here on a stage and a hierarchy is presented, so it is also not a space where people who are affected can come together and somehow find each other.

But it's also not a space where the majority of society is confronted, at least not those who hold the important levers and what we do is we tie up our resources, yes. We tie up our resources that we could invest elsewhere without actually creating participation for us, yes. And I'm like, does it make sense for us, the ones, to be here? So, so, does it make sense for all of us to be here somehow? Or like that, like that, now like that in terms of measures. It can't be self-occupational therapy, can it?

And, like, how can you do that? Because I think a quota is this thing that makes it a bit easier for everyone, especially for those who are already sitting on their resources, to say "Okay, now we've done something simple and then I can deal with it somehow" - and that's met with resistance, because actually there has to be some kind of mechanism whereby the majority of society, the people who are in a position of power, in a position of power, deal with it.

Because that is a phenomenon of mainstream society. Racialist groups are ascribed characteristics that are not intrinsic. And I'm racialised everywhere I go, but in- I'm racialised by the context that's around me. That's a trait of mainstream society and not mine, yes. And I'm wondering- What do you guys think about that? Do you still think it makes sense to do something like this? Or do you think- Well, actually we have to be a bit more radical or different or something. I don't know. So how do we do that? And, yes, that, that- honest question, so.

Melanie Bittner: Yes, the diversity work and the employment-[longer period of noise and then silence]

Lucy Larbi: Maybe I can add two more- Well, I see it the same way, but unfortunately it makes sense to me that it's like that. Why does that make sense? This is an issue that has a very, very low opportunity cost. So, it doesn't threaten anyone if it doesn't happen. So, the question is, "What happens if we don't do it?" Not much. Except that those affected feel better. Now, to put it very, very flatly and relatively generalistic. And, exactly, that- Well, I, I really go in there with the assumption: nobody cares about the topic, i.e. diversity and inclusion. That’s only interesting to those affected, it interests intellectuals, it affects people with a lot of empathy and small other groups. But the majority of society is not really interested in this because they are not affected and because the risk is so low.

Exactly the same with the sustainability issues and that is why the issue of sustainability is now also being punished in our economy. So, meanwhile you have to pay, you would have to provide numbers and write a report and also show that you are trying to use them in a resource-saving way. And if you don't, you will be penalised. And that works with all topics that are simply not interesting for the majority of society and where the risk is so low. And that's why the quota is an important, exciting debate.

That's one thing, and the other is precisely this topic, I think. I think it's very, very important to sometimes move this topic away from an emotionally concerned perspective towards a relatively pragmatic, value-oriented perspective. And the people who actually want to listen, mostly, these are mostly blue people. Blue people are people who want to work with numbers, data, facts, and want to see the added value. And I see the added value, for example, in the topic of 'cultural marketing'. In my opinion, that is, so to speak, the next level to which we should raise the topic of diversity and inclusion in order to reach the majority of society. Because the majority society thinks very strongly in a value-added way. But that's just a perspective.

[unintelligible, prolonged silence; Melanie Bittner's microphone was not switched on; noise, laughter]

Melanie Bittner: Yes, now I also notice the difference. I think now is a good time to open up the discussion and ask this tough but totally important question- I would also be interested in what other people think of it. Well, I - when I look around - I also attribute the fact that many students are present here, maybe I'm wrong sometimes, that's good, too. What do you think? Either on the question or do you want to ask our panellists something else? Add something?

I'll say it again briefly: the, the discussion will be recorded. If you, if that's for you, so to speak, you're uncomfortable being on a recording like this, we have paper and pens. You can write down your questions and I'll repeat them. You can just ask the question without the microphone, and then I'll repeat it, so, sort of, a little bit as- I hope this isn't kind of an uncomfortable hurdle. We just thought we wanted to make the discussion available to those who can't be there today. Do you have questions? ideas? [pause] Here you go. [pause] Would you like the microphone, or?

[inaudible from audience]

Audience member 1: Thank you. First of all thanks for the discussion. I found it super exciting. To take up the topic once again, 'diversity for the sake of diversity' and whether that shouldn't also be punished, like now, for example, the ESG topics, which we companies are now seeing more and more of and which are being punished and even more abolished in the future I would again counter that if we look at the shortage of skilled workers in Germany and the unpopularity of skilled workers as far as Germany is concerned, we will already be abolished due to our lack of diversity. And I wanted to hear your opinion again, whether you see it similarly or whether you would perhaps attribute other mechanisms to it.

[pause, noise]

Melanie Bittner: Who, who wants to?

[pause, noise]

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: I will answer as a migration economist now. So, totally. So, I'm all in. I think that I already understand this idea of added value and actually one should only point out the economic advantages of migration and diversity and say, "Oh, look: diverse teams are much more productive. And we need a lot, we need 400,000 migrants per year to simply compensate for demographic change in Germany. We have a shortage of skilled workers" and so on.

There's a paper showing that no matter how much you confront people with the economic benefits of diversity and migration, they don't really change their minds, yes. And I think that's, that's so heart-breaking, yeah? But maybe that also simply means that diversity may not only work as added value, economic added value, in a certain way, but that arguments have to be used differently. I have no idea why, and if I did, the AfD wouldn't be as strong.

But I think that we also underestimate the fact that we are now having this discussion in German and not in English, for example. Is that a trade off? Who are we including and excluding? Well, it's always a question of how digital and internationally accessible are we in Germany? And is it actually attractive to the people who are in demand around the world, yes? Well, we're in competition with so many other countries that have exactly the same problems. And I believe that if we, if we don't do anything about it, then we will definitely notice it very quickly. I just don't know if the reaction will then be "We need more migration" or if the reaction will be "Even more isolation, even more struggle for resources, even more polarisation" and then even in such a sheltered context as the academic one, that it also somehow goes in there.

So, I'm kind of making it kind of a 'gloom and doom day' here, but like- I think- there's got to be some way [pause] to mitigate this fear of losing resources and I don't know how to do it, because I am with you that there is scarcity. And I think somebody has to give something. And having this conversation, that's the difficult one and I, yeah. I would be delighted if we could have such an added-value debate. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that we haven't gotten that far yet.

Melanie Bittner: Yes, and maybe the question arises again as to whether it actually works for all dimensions of diversity, i.e. equally. Dome Ravina and then there was another question here, I saw you.

Dome Ravina: Yes, I think- maybe I can comment on that from a more critical race perspective? I think specifically, if we- Well, I also worked on a project, for example, it was about raising awareness among employees from standard institutions in Brandenburg of the labour market, i.e. job centres and work, employment agency. We wanted to do so much with my colleagues. So we thought, "Okay, let's tackle these issues and these issues" and then we came up with the black tiles too, because speaking of Germany and technology. It's a long way from what the usual imaginations say about it. And exactly, black tiles, but also very different levels of knowledge. And, exactly, everything we set out to do, we couldn't do. And of course, good pedagogy also includes adapting to the audience and working on it accordingly.

But in any case, it was like- Well, for example, quite a challenge in the sense of, somehow, I think- There was, for example, well, apropos- Well, it was a project that actually wanted to sensitise precisely these employees to dis-, on discrimination against migrants in the labour market. So diversity, if we look at it more like this, if we look more at this, this- Well, I don't want to offend anyone, but somehow take this superficial understanding, or anti-racism and anti-discrimination, if we want to look at it more deeply and - There were attitudes that I could observe that were very paternalistic, somehow very so- The understandings suggested of being somehow German as actually very exclusive.

And when we do that in, in, in comparison, in other countries, for example, I have no idea, somehow, how, as you say, well- language, for example, so much, well, exactly- we tell ourselves “Okay, then, then we speak English” or then there is somehow simultaneous translation, or then- But we don’t- So there is an order that has to be followed and here, German is spoken, because we are here in Germany. And that- To mention one, one, one aspect, so to speak. And I think there is still, and here I come back to this critical race aspect, there is still a very exclusive understanding of, of being German, because it- What we also found in several places in the course of the discussion, simply does not reflect reality at all.

And I think we have to confront ourselves with that, because it's not about, in relation to power and dominant relationships, so it's not about "Please, please, I want to be part of it", but "I'm already part of it", "We are part of it" and so society has to be structured and resources somehow redistributed and, exactly- And that's, these are- Yes, I think I had another point, but I think-

Lucy Larbi: I would like to go into your question again very briefly, but I would like to, perhaps in three points. So, I think companies won't be penalised yet [strong emphasis on 'yet'], maybe soon. But, it's, well, three things that I've just thought about again. One is that companies are increasingly buying specialisation. Well, they get their IT people from India or Uganda, from Rwanda or wherever. They get their employees in the supply chain from Poland. Well, that means that there is now a lot more diversity in the supply chain or, if you call it that, than diversity, but they just buy it.

Because the topic of AI, which will replace many resources and human resources in the future, and the other 'war of talent' too, is much more fluid. Well, people now work for a year, two years in a company and then they immediately change again. That means 'the war of talent', you just have to be more creative to get people. In other words, my answer would be no, they will not be punished yet, but in the future they will definitely be.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. Then I would like to pass it on to the audience.

Audience member 2: Yeah, well, I didn't really have a question, I actually just had a quick comment on what was said just now because my question is- [unintelligible, noise] Yeah, no, okay. I can just talk a little louder otherwise. Okay. [laughs] Exactly, my question was a bit- We've talked for a long time now that if you look at it rationally, in the long term it will of course be beneficial for society and the economy and so on and so forth to implement more diversity in all places. The question is a bit like- we're all sitting here as part of, I would say now, the disprivileged group. Sitting here, there are a lot of women and, I don't know, people from disadvantaged groups in this context, and my question is a bit like how can we force people from privileged groups in privileged positions to actually do something like that. Because in the end it's about restructuring resources in such a way that people from disprivileged groups can also use them and develop them further. Are there any action points that you actively somehow-

Melanie Bittner: I'd be happy to pass the question on to people who want to answer, and I'd like to point out that, so to speak, we sometimes perceive groups to be more homogeneous than they are. So that's always a bit of a danger, for example not making trans*-, non-binary people visible, or black people and POC not making them visible when we talk about the fact that the room is so white. I'm just picking it up now as, so to speak, as an occasion. And would also take your question before I pass it on to the audience for one last round.

Audience member 3: Yes exactly. [Question is asked without a microphone and is very difficult to understand or completely incomprehensible on the recording, therefore the correctness of the transcript cannot be guaranteed at this point. The first few seconds are completely incomprehensible.] I had a conversation with a friend about the application process. Are we being invited now because of our potential or because of our diversity? And then [unintelligible] a lot at the lowest level [unintelligible] like that [unintelligible], I'll say now. And then the first question, how do you deal with it yourself and then [unintelligible] present yourself well in public and not really in the back areas.

Melanie Bittner: Do you want to answer first and then we can take up the other question more broadly?

Lucy Larbi: Yes, that's a good question and I'll answer the question from my personal, subjective perception and how I would do it. I think it is very important as a human being, as a non-privileged human being, to think about good strategies and actually the system, if it is advantageous for you to use it yourself. So tell me, at the moment, whether you are now, I'll say that, seen as potential or, I'll say, that diversity washing is - well, basically it's a question of values, first of all. I would never go to a company where I obviously notice that it is, so to speak, the diversity hire.

But if I don't know that, that's an assumption on my part. So, and if I can't confirm that assumption, so to speak, that it really is, then I'd rather see it as a way of getting the first step in, no matter where I am. When I'm in there, then I unfold and then I search for myself, so to speak, then I use, then I start to understand the system and use it for myself to just get up.

And that's why I think it's very, very important. Everyone knows that “a seat at the table”. That's very exciting. I'm currently working with, through AidiA, a lot of partners, with a lot of big companies and sponsors. And why am I getting in there so well? Because many of these decisions are made by black people. And otherwise I would not have received this money and these sponsors if these people had not sat at the decision tables. That means, in my opinion, if I feel comfortable in the company, so to speak, I would go in there, understand the system and use the system for myself. There are great strategies how you can be very successful in companies. You just have to know the levers, so to speak.

Melanie Bittner: Well, I also heard that the system would be used for me, but maybe also for others who find it more difficult to use.

Lucy Larbi: Absolutely. So, exactly. I do that in my company, for example. Then there are now, there are six black people who work there. And also- We now also have the first deaf person working there. And I just understood how it works. It's actually pretty easy that you, well- You don't have to ask, but well, I'll say it like this- I'd rather apologize for a mistake than ask. And it's much more important, very, very important to just do things. And not to question and ask it in the first place, but to do it. And after that there aren't really any- there aren't really any, so there aren't any laws in the company where you can be contradicted that it's not like that. Well, that's very, very exciting, but we can talk about that again, there are definitely great strategies.

Melanie Bittner: Thank you very much. Then, yes, I would like to take up the question again, as a farewell, at the end, so to speak, how people with privileges but with creative power can be reached, who are not yet, are not yet part of the diversity work or maybe very have very little knowledge, that was also discussed, or have little motivation, have few interests, have little to lose. Well, that was a lot of the topic, I- who wants to start?

Hannah Nitsch: I would maybe-

Melanie Bittner: Yes, of course.

Hannah Nitsch: Just one quick thing to say about this from my time as a decentralised women's representative, or from the faculty council in general. When we started this pilot project, it came from the cooperation between the dean's office and the student council. Personally, I would say that the impulse came from the students, but the Dean's Office had declared itself willing to participate, but had not set the impulse independently in that sense.

So, that means I am basically of the opinion that decision-makers, or especially decision-makers, want to deal with the topic when it comes to this gender perspective, but perhaps do not have enough motivation to start it independently. In other words, I would basically say that there is a need for initiators and initiators who might take the first step and ensure visibility and say, "Hey, we'd like to do something like this." And then tend to do it many to not actively oppose these diversity issues either, because then of course it is somehow associated with a social, with a social cost, to really actively speak out against it and to say "No, I'm not doing that now and I want that, I don't want to, I don't want to deal with it."

On the other hand, you often see when there are work, work, when workshops are offered, for whatever status group, both for students and for scientific staff or generally all employees at a faculty that the take-up is low. Even among the students, where you would then say, okay, maybe those are the ones who then deal with such topics even more actively. We had- A diversity workshop was organized where we had trouble finding sixteen participants with a student body of over a thousand or so.

And that's a problem that I think runs through many layers. That people are not averse to such topics in principle, but say "Okay, my interests are not enough that I want to deal with them on a deeper level." In my opinion, coercion is difficult. Because it can go in two, two directions. You can say, okay, there might be people who wouldn't otherwise deal with this topic, who then say, "Okay, then I'll do it now, now I'm forced to. Ah, that's quite interesting."

But it can also go the other way, as Sulin said, okay, if you are then forced to do something, then maybe the fronts just harden. And I think in the end the most important thing is that there are people who give an impulse, who create an offer. They might just start off small, but over time and with greater visibility there will be more and more, at least that's my optimistic hope. But to actually create a compulsion there or to assume that after a year or after a year of the pilot project that the president or vice-president of the HU will sit here directly and can really decide something is utopian. I think you just have to stay on top of your game and not let something discourage you. And then say, "Okay, ah, there are only thirty people there, then I'll stop, apparently there's no interest", I think you have to differentiate a bit, but I would say coercion doesn't work either.

Melanie Bittner: Durability.

Hannah Nitsch: Yes, exactly. [laughs]


Lucy Larbi: I can perhaps say one sentence about that. I always like to compare it to football. Well, I can, so to speak, actually, well, I don't watch football and I find it boring, but I’m present at the World Cup. Why? Because then it is relevant to me. I feel like I am, I feel part of the whole. I see them, I see the relevance, I feel affected. I just want a team to win.

And that is, so to speak, similar to the DEI debate or the topics. I can't force anyone to do it, I just make it relevant. And I also think - My personal opinion is that the topic has become too emotionalised so that many are no longer affected, that many are no longer interested in this topic, because the debate is often either very abstract, very emotional or political. And I think you have to raise it to a level that is relevant for everyone, and I see that more, as I said, in more pragmatic structures.

Melanie Bittner: Well, we still have time. You are welcome to say something else.

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Maybe because we are almost exclusively among economists here. So I think if we manage to set incentives and approach it a bit more structurally - because we have a bit of a tendency, at least in science, that people who already have a lot get a lot of resources cobbled on. And on the levels where diversity is actually represented a bit better, these people just don't get the resources, yes. That means you have the 50+ cis men who sit on their professorships and apply for one third-party funded project after the other and then get something performance-oriented on top of it and so on and so forth. And then the resources accumulate, accumulate in a position that is already very privileged.

And then the junior professors somehow toil away with a quarter of an scientific assistant position and try to make a difference somehow and then sit here as junior professors on the panels and are present at these network meetings and so on and so forth. So, if you just said, "No, we're doing redistribution now, yes, and, and don't channel all the funds to where they are already sitting anyway, then over time there would be a reversal of the balance of power, yes.

So, then, then it would be- Then it would no longer be so protected, but there would be more access. But there are the inequalities. And we have systematically, more and more inequalities are being churned out. And if we somehow manage to say, "Hey, it's about the structural aspects." It's- It's really good that we're taking this step now and I'm actually- Well, you've convinced me. It's not cool to say "There are only thirty people here, it's not worth it at all." Or "Only those who are affected are sitting here, it's not worth it at all." Rather, first comes the green washing and then comes the criticism of the green washing and then perhaps the actual change will come? And maybe we just got into the diversity washing cycle right now, yes? And now we're just pushing for it to be implemented systematically and then hopefully the people who are there will bring in the dynamics, and now we just have to make a bit of noise and then actually implement it systematically. So thank you for coming. I take everything back.

Melanie Bittner: Well, we started with the resources and have now ended up with them again. Definitely, Dome Ravina, you would like to, as well.

Dome Ravina Olivo: Yes, exactly. Well, of course there are, I think with these questions - I think, well, there is a very broad spectrum of possibilities and also - I find these, these comments, for example on ideology, these, these, these also come closer criticism of identity politics, because, for example, when we talk about identity politics, certain groups are accused of pursuing identity politics, but we don't call it identity politics when, for example, the same groups of people, social groups, get the resources over and over again and others don't. But that's just as much identity politics, isn't it? But that's not how we talk about it.

And I think from the, on the level, my comment would be that I, well yes, we live in a, in a certain economic system and this economic system is characterised by profit maximisation and, and also, for example, by certain policies, like "divide and conquer". And "divide and conquer" then leads to the fact that somehow different groups fight each other for the scarce resources. And I would say one perspective for me is, or one way, one possible approach to changing things, is to oppose these very “divide and conquer” policies.

And in that sense- And also like that, for example, anti-discrimination work is just not profitable. So if we now move away from incentives for those who do, research also proves that they don't work, or psychoanalysis somehow shows us mechanisms, mechanisms of, mechanisms for, or mechanisms, how people despite so much knowledge somehow does not change opinions or affects, emotions, et cetera, attitudes. Which doesn't mean we should give up now. It's like that, the ambivalences, the contradictions are there, the borders are there too, but if we, just when we [unintelligible] happen, for example, and think power-critically-

So, a lot of things that we're taking for granted right now, well, I'm always thinking, for example, of dates like- I was born in '89. I think in '91 the last canton in Switzerland decided on women's rights. I'm still- I still can't comprehend this information, this, data like that. And yes, things change, but in order for them to change, we have to move. And I believe in doing anti-discrimination work, in networking, in organising.

And I, somehow I don't let myself be told, it's ideologically coloured. I really think it's beyond how I position myself ideologically in any way, it's just like 'global emergencies', like climate change. Climate change can't somehow be a left-wing issue. Climate change is just an absolute- Well, climate change, climate, work about, for climate justice, or somehow embracing climate change is just an- Well, this, this has to happen. [laughs] And, exactly. And I also believe in creating justice or participation for marginalised groups and creating equal opportunities and taking action against discrimination and somehow getting involved in more actual plurality.

Melanie Bittner: Well, I think we end up being so slightly optimistic with that kind of action, we definitely end up with it. Thanks a lot for this. Thank you for being here on our panel, as the second or third shift, so to speak, I don't know what else you've been up to today. Thank you for organising the panel and I am glad you were here. I hope you can take something away with you and are still interested in dealing with the topic. I wish you a pleasant evening.

[applause, noise]

Prof. Dr. Sulin Sardoschau: Thank you, Ms. Horn.