Diversity as an opportunity

Diversity at the University of Bonn

The University of Bonn owes its excellence to its members: its students, researchers, teachers and all its administrative and technical staff. It is their diversity—reflected in a broad spectrum of potential, experiences and lifestyles—that both enriches and challenges the University as a teaching and learning organization. The University of Bonn understands the implementation, promotion and support of equal opportunity and diversity as fundamental to a university culture built on appreciation and thus as a management and cross-sectional duty. 2020 saw the establishment of the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit, with the higher-level Vice Rectorate set up in the following year, focusing its work exclusively on these two areas. 

The Vice Rectorate and the Unit are tasked to develop strategic ideas for further strengthening excellence through diversity and inclusion at the University of Bonn and for ensuring equal opportunity to the highest possible degree. Moreover, the Vice Rectorate and the Unit implement measures to promote equal opportunity and diversity. They support and connect organizational units and members of the University of Bonn that share the same aims, e.g. within the Diversity Network. These efforts are guided by the BRIDGES principle, which stands for “building networks for participation, individual diversity, recognition and appreciation.”

The logo of the Diversity Unit with the seven diversity principles next to it
© Universität Bonn

Our Vision—an inclusive and cosmopolitan University

The University of Bonn strives to guarantee and further develop the best possible study, research, teaching and working conditions. It ensures that its members can participate in the University community regardless of their age, gender, sexual identity or orientation, ethnic or social background, religion or beliefs and whether or not they have a disability or chronic condition. Discrimination is not tolerated and will be sanctioned. The University of Bonn is making a sustained effort to promote and improve equal opportunity and diversity over the long term. To this end, University management is committed to embedding an inclusive organizational culture that systematically uncovers and eliminates (structural) inequality and exclusion mechanisms. This requires a culture that embraces free and critical academic debate. The aim is the (further) development of questions, projects and holistic approaches that may have the potential to change structural conditions in research and administration.

You can read our mission statement here.

Strategic Priorities

Educational equity

We are committed to ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities in education. We want access to education for all and support underrepresented groups such as first generation academics or persons with a refugee or migration background.


We want to help all university members to assume their family responsibilities as best as they can, whether they have children or care for other relatives. All family constellations are given the same level of recognition, acceptance and support.

Gender equality

We strive to facilitate more equitable participation by people of all genders. In particular, this includes women’s equality—with the aim being parity, especially in leadership positions—as well as taking greater account of underrepresented gender identities.

Inclusion and participation

We are committed to enabling everyone to participate in university life with self-determination and equal opportunities. We want to break down physical, digital, linguistic, organizational and attitudinal barriers in order to create better conditions for students, researchers, lecturers and staff with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses.


We have a responsibility to ensure that the personal rights of all university members are protected and for punishing any violations of these rights. We therefore take it upon ourselves to oppose any form of discrimination, to foster an environment that is sensitive to discrimination issues and critical of power asymmetries and to take a clear stand against racism and discrimination.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity in...

Students talking to each other, some standin, some sitting
© Volker Lannert / Universität Bonn


The University of Bonn wants to promote equal opportunities especially in studies and for students. Therefore, the University has set itself the goal of recognizing, valuing and promoting the individuality of each student.

A scientist is looking through a microscope
© Bernadett Yehdou/ Universität Bonn

Research and Teaching

Diversity-sensitive structures promote equal opportunities. Both are essential for successful teaching, successful and barrier-free studying, and for excellent and innovative research.

A group of people are listening to a presentation
© Colourbox

Management and Administration

The promotion of advanced training, good working conditions, reliable career prospects and demand-oriented services are tasks which the University of Bonn wants to prioritize.

“Everyone Benefits”

Prof. Dr. Irmgard Förster and Anna Hollstegge talk about diversity in a university context and the work of the Diversity Unit.

Interview with forsch

The interview as a pdf and more articles on diversity can be found in the forsch 2022/02.

Rhineland Network for Equal Opportunities

Promoting equal opportunities and thus creating an open and appreciative working and study environment is the goal of our work. To reinforce this goal, the University of Bonn has become a member of the Rhineland Network for Equal Opportunities and joins in following its shared guidelines.

Their core elements are

  • increasing diversity in the leadership of academia and administration,
  • responsibility for reconciling family, studies and career in all lifestyles and life situations,
  • ensuring equal-opportunity talent development and enabling careers,
  • the reduction of discrimination, and
  • strengthening gender, queer and diversity studies in teaching and research.

We are stronger as a team. This is why the University of Bonn is a member of the Rhineland Network for Equal Opportunities since September 2023, together with the University of Cologne, the RWTH Aachen University, the Cologne University of Technology, the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, the German Aerospace Centre and the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences. Our work is guided by the guidelines and the joint efforts of our network partners.

Paper with the gender equality symbol written on it
© Colourbox

Reference Framework for Gender Equality

The University of Bonn has issued a reference gramework for gender equality for 2022-2026, which defines the goals of the entire university. This, as well as all equality plans of the faculties, the central institutions and the administration, can be viewed here.

Diversity Audit

The University of Bonn explicitly acknowledges its obligation, as anchored in § 3 of the state Higher Education Act, to engage in sufficient measures to promote diversity among the University of Bonn community and to implement suitable structures and adequate framework conditions. The ultimate goal is to dismantle barriers and prejudices and to identify, nurture and strengthen untapped potential. One important step on this path, beyond the signing of the Charter of Diversity, is participation in the Diversity Audit by the Association of Sponsors of German Arts and Science (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft).

© Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.

Signed Charter of Diversity

By signing the “Charter of Diversity”, the University is acknowledging its responsibility to pursue equal opportunity. This is affirmed as a decisive condition for successful teaching and research, and as such is integrated as a fundamental management and cross-disciplinary task.

Logo of the Diverstiy Charter
© Charta der Vielfalt

The Charter of Diversity reads:

Diversity as a Chance – The Corporate Charter of Diversity for Germany

The diversity of modern society, influenced by globalization and reflected in demographic changes, is affecting economic life in Germany. We have come to realize that we can only be successful economically if we acknowledge and leverage the existing diversity. That includes the diversity of our workforces and the diverse needs of our customers and other business partners. Diverse competencies and talents on the part of staff open new opportunities for innovative and creative solutions.

The implementation of the Charter of Diversity in our organization aims at creating a work environment free of prejudice. We deeply respect all colleagues irrespective of gender, nationality, ethnic background, religion or worldview, disability, age, and sexual preference and identity. [...]

In the framework of this Charter we are committed to

  • fostering a corporate culture characterized by mutual respect and appreciation of every single individual. We seek to create conditions such that everyone (superiors and co-workers) respects, practices and acknowledges these values. This will require explicit support from leaders and superiors.
  • validating and ensuring that our human resource processes are compatible with the diverse competencies, abilities and talents of our employees, as well as with our own performance standards.
  • recognizing the diversity of society inside and outside our organization, appreciating the intrinsic potential residing in it [...]
  • ensuring that the implementation of the Charter will be a subject of internal and external communication.
  • publicizing on an annual basis our own activities and progress in promoting diversity.
  • keeping our own employees and colleagues informed about diversity and actively involved in implementing the Charter.

We are definitely convinced that practicing and appreciating diversity will have a positive impact on German society.

Additional information about the Charta der Vielfalt e.V. association can be found here.

See also

News and Events

All current projects of the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit, as well as diversity-related events.

The Vice Rectorate

Since 2021 Prof. Dr. Irmgard Förster is Vice Rector for Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

STEP Program

The program offers financial support to female researchers at the University of Bonn.

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