• 6/18/2018

A TUM-wide campaign

The cooking pot – his or hers?

“His or hers?” – a question that jumps at us from blue and white posters this summer semester… So what’s behind this campaign? Dr. Eva Sandmann, the TUM’s gender equality officer, explains the campaign and tells us about her wishes for the future of our university.

An idea of the Munich University of Applied Sciences: the campaign “His or hers?” (Image: Sabine Kirschenbauer)
An idea of the Munich University of Applied Sciences: the campaign “His or hers?” (Image: Sabine Kirschenbauer)

What is the “His or hers”-campaign about?

Eva Sandmann: The idea of the campaign is to initiate a lively discourse on “gender stereotypes” at TUM, with simple symbols and eye-catching posters. It was the office of gender equality of the Munich University of Applied Sciences that came up with the idea of starting a campaign to raise awareness for gender roles. The office of a Women’s Representative at Bavarian universities was introduced 30 years ago, and the campaign is to be seen as a “return gift” of the Women’s Representatives to the Bavarian universities and higher education institutions.

Which of the motifs is your favorite – and why?

The “brain”-motif often leads to fruitful discussions. Referring to the biological viewpoint, it is often the differences between women and men that are mentioned – although there are much more “similarities” in the way the organ works. This is often followed by astonishingly controversial discussions about general societal “prejudices” regarding gender roles and specific behavior.

The cooking pot – her domain or his metier? To build racing cars – his career aspiration or her dream job? How do the TUM-students see this?

I think that the students here have – as with other topics – very diverse and highly individual opinions, and this is exactly what the campaign is about: it aims to inspire spontaneous discussions about prejudices, as a basis for cognitive processes that lead to attitude changes.

TUM is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary. A lot has changed over the years, but certainly not enough. What are your hopes for the ideal TUM of the future?

The gender issue is definitely present in higher education policy, but it is often discussed in a superficial and polarizing manner. There should be more space and time for important discourses like this at TUM – even outside of one’s individual scientific field. If you have a packed schedule, there’s not much room to address complex topics such as one’s own prejudices or the “unconcious bias”. What I would hope for are better evaluation and decision-making processes and, thus, more tolerance for other patterns of thinking.

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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