GDCh members on equal opportunities

Members of the GDCh on Equal Opportunities and Diversity

Dr. Lisa Pecher

Foto: Jochen Mogk

The GDCh's commitment to gender equality is really commendable. But it should not be forgotten that diversity means much more these days. In addition to the increased integration of foreign members and members affected by racism, an inviting environment should also be created for less visible minorities who have a difficult career path - e.g. for people from the LGBTQ spectrum, from the autism spectrum, with chronic diseases / disabilities or from low-income groups Familys.

Even small measures such as inclusive language (e.g. by using the gender star) or barrier-free access and schedules at events clearly show the chemists of these groups that they are welcome and set a clearer sign than just the absence of discrimination. In addition, network events for GDCh members of these groups can help them not to feel alone and to fully develop their passion for chemistry.

Maximilian Menche

Foto: Catalysis Research
Laboratory Heidelberg

My time at the GDCh began in the JungChemikerForum Frankfurt and after a number of nationwide speaker meetings led to the European Young Chemists' Network (EYCN). I experienced a fantastic integration of all genders, sexualities and origins across all levels and even if I can understand the renaming requests (and personally agree), I want to emphasize that I have always had unprecedented experiences here. When I started in Frankfurt, the regional forum had a spokeswoman. When I got to know the nationwide level, Prof. Thisbe Lindhorst was a strong president in office who made considerable progress with the AK Equal Opportunities. Even when I began to get involved internationally, Dr. Alice Soldà and Prof. Pilar Goya two women join the EYCN and the European Chemical Society.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do: The efforts of the last few years to make the GDCh more integrative (and thus at the same time more internationally attractive) for non-German-speaking members should be continued. At the same time, the progress made by the GDCh to date must also be transferred to teaching and work.

Carolin Beil

Foto: Michael Schopps

I came into contact with the GDCh as a student in Tübingen because I was won over by the work of the JungChemikerForum and the offers for students were of interest. In order to expand this further, I was the JCF regional spokesperson for three years, mostly with an all-male team. The decisive factor here was my motivation for this position as well as the joy of organization and teamwork.

In February 2020 I took part in the Global Women's Breakfast, which was jointly organized by Wiley-VCH and the GDCh. Students and professionals discussed together and collected ideas for a fair publication culture: special editions for women and minorities, unbiased reviews using a double-blind process, and much more.

In order to continue shaping the GDCh, I would like to see more such events for open discussions and active support for underrepresented minorities through mentoring programs for strengthening support in a successful, equal professional life!

Prof. Dr. Petra Mischnick

Over the past 20 years there has been a process of increasing participation by women - in boards and commissions. The GDCh is a reflection of the scientific community and generally reflects their opinion and awareness. And there are now more female professors, every now and then a president, deans, spokespersons for research associations, etc. So that is a positive development. Nevertheless, women are still underrepresented in management positions or professorships.

The question remains, among other things, to what extent structural conditions (and here not only old, but also new ones) have a negative impact on the opportunities, or one could also say, on the interest / willingness of women in the Science making a Career impact. To think about it further and to lead a discourse, to involve the research organizations, the publishers, the politicians - the GDCh could take care of that.

Prof. Dr. Biprajit Sarkar

Foto: Jessica Stubbe

The Hudlicky article does not in any way reflect the values of the GDCh. Both Angew. Chem. And GDCh have given statements on their stand, and actions have followed words. To me it was strange that many members of the so-called "Internationl Advisory Board" resigned instead of helping the journal in the time of crisis. What role did such an Advisory Board have?

As someone who came from outside into the German academic system, I have always seen GDCh as being extremely supportive of diversity and equal opportunity. I have never felt discriminated against because of my origin or my skin color. Two points that need to be critically looked into are: decentralization of power and the track record of individuals in promoting equal opportunity. To put it bluntly ?How many different academic political positions should one person hold??. Also, "Do people in positions of responsibility have a good track record of promoting diversity and equal opportunity?" These are questions that we all, including the GDCh (and Angew. Chem.), And every other academic organization in this country and the world over need to reflect on. To me these aspects remain relevant irrespective of the gender, race, sexual orientation and so on of the person.

Dr. Gisela Boeck

Foto: ITMZ Universität Rostock

I recently told my daughter about the numerous activities of the German Chemical Society, in which I have been involved for many years. Horrified, she asked me: What is the name of the company? Where are the women then? Yes, she is a little right - as long as there is no Society of German Chemists, we women seem - at least linguistically - to be ostracized. But isn't the reality we live a completely different one?

The guiding principle of our society adopted in 2018 shows very clearly that it is about chemists, that the GDCh is committed to equal opportunities and that it is precisely this obligation that enables EXCELLENCE and INNOVATION. And that's how I've experienced it in the 30 years of my membership. Many years ago, by the way, having become a qualified chemist and not a qualified chemist, I am on the board of a division and a working group not because I am a woman, but because I have the necessary skills.

Willis Muganda

I join hands with the German Chemical Society (GDCh) in condemning the opinions that were expressed in the controversial article in Angewandte Chemie. During my time in the JCF board we successfully made huge steps in ensuring diversity was addressed and implemented in all JCF activities.

All JCF members have equal rights, irrespective of their gender, age, sexual orientation, race or nationality. It is not a coincidence that I was overwhelmingly elected twice to serve the JCF Board even though I was not born or raised in Germany and didn't speak fluent German. This is a perfect example of how GDCh through the empowerment of young chemists has fostered social inclusion. Last year, the JCF board made it a priority to change the election regulations for electing board members in order to ensure equal opportunities and a fair equal election process.

The fruits of these changes can not only be seen by the current constitution of the JCF board with 2 ladies and 3 gentlemen, a complete contrast to the former board where only 5 gentlemen were elected. I stand with GDCh during this time and kindly ask all members to support the GDCh initiatives in ensuring equality and diversity implemented in all its endeavors.

Dr. Hildegard Nimmesgern

Without equal opportunities there is no diversity - without diversity there is no integration!

Everyone wants to benefit from the variety of experiences, approaches, perspectives, ideas, etc. that advance science, business and society. That requires equal opportunities. Behind this is an attitude of respect towards other people, regardless of age, gender, skin color, nationality, religious orientation, etc., and against discrimination!

This is what the GDCh stands for and so it is anchored in the statutes . But only fair action by all bodies of the GDCh and its members forms the basis for drawing from diversity. The Working Group for Equal Opportunities, AKCC, was founded in 2000, followed in 2018 by a commission that reports directly to the Executive Board. In order to achieve greater visibility and impact, the GDCh will shortly be offering a ?Diversity Prize? for the first time. This clearly shows the GDCh's commitment to equal opportunities.

I hope that equal opportunities will penetrate the consciousness of all members even more and that actions will be determined at all levels, whether in the nomination of prizes, the selection of speakers and much more. Then the diversity becomes effective and role models more diverse. In addition, I would like to be more aware of where injustice and discrimination happen, coupled with an attitude to actively oppose it. That motivates me to work for more equal opportunities in the GDCh. Take part!

Prof. Dr. Carsten Streb

Foto: Heiko Grandel, 2017

The GDCh has firmly anchored the principles of equal opportunities in its mission statement. The first successes of this strategy can be seen positively, for example, in the composition of committees. Important building blocks for the future of the GDCh are the active involvement of international chemists in the activities of the GDCh (e.g. through English-language courses). In addition, we should actively invite chemists with diverse backgrounds to join the GDCh and its committees in order to be a common voice for the further development of the GDCh.

Dr. Wolfgang Gerhartz

© 2019 Wolfgang Gerhartz

I have great respect for the efforts of the GDCh to create the conditions for equal opportunities for all in society. The board is exemplary. The very active commission 'Equal Opportunities' reports directly to the board.

As is well known, there is still some catching up to do with the awarding of the GDCh prizes. The commissions concerned must be asked repeatedly and urgently to ensure that opportunities are equal here as well. However, I would warn against explicitly giving preference to one group - in this case women. This contradicts the principle of equal opportunities. Because the preference of one group automatically disadvantages the other.

With all the praise for equal opportunities in the GDCh, in my opinion there is still one fly in the ointment: the name of the company. A change in the 'Society of German Chemists' would be too cumbersome. I also personally reject the gender star, which I consider unaesthetic, or even the Binnemajuskel (chemists). I propose to change the name to "Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft - GDCh". Everything else should stay, especially the ingenious logo with the Petri dish.

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last modified: 10.05.2021 14:49 H from