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Gender, Diversity and Technology

Gender diversity und technik.png

This module introduces the general theory of gender and diversity and highlights its presence in the field of natural sciences and technology. Moreover, it stimulates the critical reflection of one's own person and behaviour and the social inequalities. This session provides a basic introduction to the topic of gender & technology followed by a small group presentation showing how perspectives of gender and diversity studies can be integrated into technology and natural sciences or how they are related to them. An anti-discrimination exercise will follow to help raise awareness about the social inequalities.

Gender, Diversity and Technology
Gender, Diversity and Technology - dealing with discriminations (experiences)
Combination of Building Block, Perspectives Chest and E-learning
Gender, Diversity, Technology, Discrimination
Learning Outcomes
Brief description of the learning objectives. Please formulate the learning objectives as they are presented in the seminar so that they are adapted to the specific content of your module.
Competence for the transfer of knowledge, Competence for anticipation, Competence for interdisciplinary knowledge generation, Competence for dealing with incomplete and very complex information, Competence for reflection on guiding principles, Competence for supporting others
Forms of Learning
creative, fact-oriented
E-Learning and prepared text-reading, yes-no-questions, perspectives chest, presentation of the Gender Pro Mint program of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Women and Gender Research (ZIFG) at TU Berlin, interactive exercise "A step forward" to the sensitization of society's disparities and discrimination, group discussion, reading of two articles illustrating possible ways to integrate the aspects of gender and diversity in the field of mechanical engineering.
Group Size
120 Min
Material and Room
Identity cards, fact cards, walls and tables for the creation of the knowledge storage, beamer for the Gender Pro Mint presentation. A wide open space with the possibility of chair circles.
very good
Summer semester 2016


Preparation for the moderation

The preparation time depends on the previous knowledge about gender and diversity of the moderators. Without pre-knowledge the preparation time is approx. 5 h - note that the posters of the perspectives chest, basic literature and the instructions for the method "A step forward" should be carefully read! Moreover, an hour should be allocated for the preparation of the perspectives chest (see separate instructions). It is also useful to prepare strategies to solve critical situations, in the event that people feel hurt by others. A speaker who is familiar with the topic of gender is invited to ask questions and to accompany the final discussion. At TU Berlin, the graduates of the Gender Pro Mint program, The ZIFG, the women's commission, as well as people from the Women's Department or the AER's Queerreferat of TU Berlin are invited at an early stage by the seminar participants, preferably before the start of the semester. The reading of the "Respect Guide - Guidelines for a respectful interaction with each other" as well as the "Heading and Redemptions" fact-sheet (see appendix) is critical for this module. A suitable interaction about a sensitive topic should be prepared as well as the moderation of the evaluation for all parties involved. Concerning the preparation of the participants, the gender e-learning will be released one week before the date of the class.

Preparation of the participants

Participants take part in the preparation of the e-learning gender topic. No prior knowledge is required at this point. As a follow-up, the articles and information from the appendix "Follow-up" are sent to all participants in the weekly seminar mail.

Materials and Rooms

Identity cards, fact cards, walls and tables for the creation of the perspectives chest, pamphlets for the Gender Pro Mint presentation. A wide open space with the possibility of a chair circle.


Room preparation

Structure of the knowledge memory (refer to the plan Knowledge storage for gender awareness). For the course at the Blue Engineering Seminar in Berlin, a set of posters and a box with the printed brochures and info material are available for each course. The materials can be collected at the office before the seminar.

Minute 00.- Welcome and Announcements.

The moderator welcomes the participants, makes the weekly organizational announcements and presents the agenda of the seminar.

Minute 05. - Module implementation - short module incl. Feedback

After the participants execute the building blocks, a short and a long module will follow. The topic of diversity, gender and technology consist of a long building block; therefore, a group will prepare the short module of 60 minutes plus 10 minutes of feedback. The tutor at the end of the second module will connect and clarify the ideas.

Minute 65. - Break

Before the break, the topic "Gender, Diversity and Technology" is announced. The participants are encouraged to look at the related perspectives chest on gender, diversity and technology during the break.

Minute 80. - Beginning the Gender, Diversity & Technology Building Block - Yes-No-

After a short presentation of the block sequence, all participants are distributed freely in the room. The room is divided into two sides corresponding to the answers yes and no. The moderators read the following yes / no questions / statements one after the other. The participants position themselves according to their answers at one of both ends of the room. Even if it seems difficult for the participants to make a choice, a clear positioning is the goal of the building block. The moderators shape the distribution in order to bring it into the discussion during the final discussion. However, for the time being the distribution remains uncommented. 1. I believe that the issue of gender plays a role in my life. 2. I think it's good when technology is developed with a view to a particular gender. 3. I believe that by nature, men have a better understanding of technology and women have a better sense of empathy. 4. I believe that technology can be designed to appeal to all genders alike. 5. I believe that at TU Berlin, all students have the same opportunities. The skin color, socio-economic origin (academic parents / working-class parents etc.), physical impairment (eg wheelchair), gender identity, childless, (alone) educating, play no role. 6. I believe that gender equality is present in Germany.

Minute 90. - Facts Cards

Each participant will receive a fact card from the moderator. In a large circle, each participant reads his/her fact card. After each fact card is read, few seconds are allocated for personal reflection. In order to maintain the concentrated atmosphere, there is no room for discussion or comments at this point.

Minute 95. - Perspectives chest for Gender Awareness

The perspectives chest is briefly introduced. There is a separate manual for this setup. The participants are given time to look at the perspectives chest and are encouraged to keep looking during the break. The perspectives chest provides information on basic concepts of gender mathematics, as well as on the following topics: gender and advertising, gender and religion, gender and technology, gender marketing.

Minute 80. - Reflection on the group process .

After the break, the participants return to their small groups.

The participants receive a moderation card. On one side of the card, each participant writes what he/she liked about the group process and the result of the group work. On the other side, each participant writes what he/she did not like in the group process and what interfered with the result of the group work. The participants exchange ideas about what they liked concerning the process and the result, which will be followed by a discussion of what they did not like. Further questions can be developed such as: could each group member contribute to his/her satisfaction? What would have been needed to get involved? Should the same method be used in future group work?

Minute 110 - Presentation of the GENDER PRO MINT Program

The study program GENDER PRO MINT at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Women and Gender Research (ZIFG) offered at TU Berlin will shortly be presented. This study program offers the opportunity to deal with the gender and diversity issues present in the fields of science and engineering. It is a structured, study-accompanying program with a total of 30 credit points. A more detailed description of the program is available.

Minute 115 - A step forward - Reflections on Discrimination

This exercise is taken from the I-Pad brochure (Intersektional Pädagogik) and has been modified accordingly for this blue engineering module (see references). Objective:


  • Empowerment of the current living conditions of social minorities / groups
  • Promoting empathy with people who are not part of the majority society
  • Reflection on one's own position in society
  • Reflection and understanding of the social conditions

Method This manual is located separately in the sub-folder "Step up front" see appendix. There are different identity cards that are divided into 3 groups:

  1. Origin, Age and Sexual Orientation
  2. Education, Profession
  3. Sex, Physical impairment and Social status

Each participant draws card from each of the three categories. The combination of the three cards identifies the role of the participant during the exercise. A certain time is allocated for the participant to think about his/her "new" identity. The group leaders ask the following or similar questions to speed up the process:

  • What is your name?
  • How was your childhood?
  • Where do you live?
  • What do you do in your free time?

The cards remain unknown by the rest of the participants and there is no discussion concerning the "new" identity. The participants stand in a row on a wall of the room. A number of questions are now asked (see below). All those who can answer with "Yes" according to their role, take a step forward. If, on the other hand, they answer with "no" or are uncertain, they remain standing. The answer to the questions is a subjective assessment which is more important than factual correctness. The moderators should take turns to ask the questions. When all the questions are asked, the participants remain in their place for the first part of the evaluation. In the Appendix (see "A step forward"), a larger questionnaire is stored, from which additional questions can be selected. Due to the time limit, it is advisable to ask max. 15 Questions Do you ...

  • feel safe at night on the road?
  • assume naturally that you or your social group will be involved in the development of technology?
  • believe that you will not be discriminated at your university or work?
  • deine_n Partner_in ohne Vorbehalte auf der Straße küssen?
  • feel certain that you will get the same pay for the same work as your fellow students?
  • feel that you can be open about your religion?
  • feel that your interests are heard and taken into account at the workplace or university?
  • feel like you can go into any disco you’d like to go to?
  • easily accept a training or work opportunity?
  • assume that other people will give you a great technical understanding?
  • assume that you or your social group will be considered in newspaper reports?
  • assume that you will have the same career opportunities as other colleagues with similar qualifications?
  • expect fair treatment from the police while trying to a report a theft?
  • feel certain that the police are not being controlled without a reason?
  • feel capable to study at a university?
  • feel safe from sexual harassment outside and at the workplace?

Optional: Do you.

  • think you can find a job again, after a longer period of unemployment?
  • assume that technology is generally developed with a view to your needs?
  • think that the techniques that you use are developed by people who are similar to you?
  • think that other people give you a great technical understanding?

"Hints for the moderation of the evaluation phase" Here, special attention should be given to the presentation, as very sensitive topics are discussed. The explicit task of the moderation must be protected by means of discriminatory / violating / cross-border statements, even if they are not deliberate. To appropriately approach this discussion, make sure to clarify why this statement is problematic as the purpose of this building block is to encourage participants to share their opinions and rethink their own prejudices.

Minute 125. Evaluation – Phase 1

Please do not hesitate to follow the instructions for the moderation!" It is advisable to have only one person guiding the exercise.

During the first part of the evaluation phase, all participants remain standing in their position. The moderators ensure a quiet atmosphere and invite the participants to reflect on their position:

  • Look around you. Where are the others? How does that feel?

The moderators will now talk to each participant about their position (people in the front, the back or in the middle). If the group is relatively small, all participants can be consulted together.

  • How do you feel about your role?
  • How does it feel to be so far ahead?
  • When did those who often took a step forward found that others did not progress as fast as they did?
  • When did those who stayed far behind realize that the others were moving faster?

People standing in the back usually notice quickly that they remain behind, while people standing in the front only notice towards the end that others do not come along. At this point, it should be pointed out that, in reality, privileged people do not notice when people are in marginalized positions while those in the marginalized positions tend to feel their deprivation of privileges on a daily basis. After that, each participant can share his/her position and role to the group. → Due to time constraint, this exchange can be omitted.

Minute 145. - Evaluation – Phase 2

During the second part of the evaluation, a chair circle is formed where the participants can present their roles.One moderator proceeds by asking the following questions General:

  • How do you feel about this exercise?
  • Can you put yourself in the situation or the role played?
  • Could you imagine the respective living conditions? What was unclear, where were you uncertain?
  • Was it easy or difficult to assess whether you could take a step forward or not?
  • When were you uncertain?
  • What questions did you particularly remember?
  • Images and stereotypes to individual roles
  • Where did you get the information about the life situation of the drawn roles?
  • Why do we know a lot about certain people/ roles, and nothing about others? (The important role of the media can be considered here)

Transfer to social reality

  • What has restricted you in your actions? ( consider the following categories: nationality, -> skin color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, social and financial status, etc.)
  • Do you think that this exercise properly reflects our society?
  • What are the different groups or individuals that have changed their situation? What do they have no influence on?
  • What should we change? What can we change?

Transfer to the personal situation At the end of the second evaluation phase, the participants are informed that the evaluation is complete. Before proceeding to the final discussion, the participants take three or four minutes to think about the following three questions. Note that these questions are only used for self-reflection and are not subject to group discussion.

  • Where would you stand if you had done this exercise with a card representing you?
  • How could you responsibly use your own privileges?
  • Or how would you counter your marginalization?

Minute 165. - Final group discussion

Make sure to follow the instructions for a complete final discussion!"

Following these questions, a group discussion will be held, in which all outstanding questions can be clarified. In addition, there is the possibility to access the information from the perspectives chest as well as evaluate the various elements during the interaction. The transition between the evaluation of the "one step forward" exercise and the group final discussion can be designed according to the group dynamic. The discussion is clearly presented here as a moderation, but it is still possible for arguments to arise. Here, make sure that if discriminatory statements are made, they are clearly visible. The moderation is used to ensure a respectful group discussion (such as excuses, no personal attacks etc; this could also be mentioned at the beginning): The discussion board welcomes the invited expert and briefly presents it. The expert can be consulted in case of questions or uncertainties. The final discussion begins with the following two questions:

  • Most of you here study mechanical engineering or business engineering. Women in mechanical engineering are about 12% and in industrial engineering 25%. What influence does this have on your studies? Would you study differently if the ratio was more balanced?
  • In the research and development departments of the German automotive, electrical and mechanical engineering industries, there is a women's share of less than 10% (possibly a graphic of the donor association). Is this affected by the working conditions and collegial relationship? Is technology developed from the point of view of a particular gender, or are all the sexes equally involved?

In this discussion it is useful to lead to the moderation to a simple-quotated or double-quoted redelist.

Einfach-quotierte Redeliste: stehen sowohl Frauen* und Männer* auf der Redeliste, werden sie abwechselnd drangenommen. Doppelt-quotierte Redeliste: stehen sowohl Frauen* und Männer* auf der Redeliste, werden sie abwechselnd drangenommen. Meldet sich jemand, der noch nie geredet hat, wird diese Person direkt vorgezogen, wobei weibliche Erstrednerinnen* nochmals männlichen Erstrednern* vorgezogen werden.

The yes-no questions used in the beginning can be reused now. Inquiries and personal opinions on the information of the perspectives chest can be discussed here:

  • Would you now position yourself in the yes-no questions as in the beginning? If not, why?
  • Are there any questions or comments about the posters of the perspectives chest?
  • What role do you play in this subject as an engineer?
  • Did this module show you new perspectives?
  • The Founders' Association has found that hardly any people aged 55 or older are working in research and development departments. Does this affect the working environment and the technology developed? (See the graphic of the donor association)
  • Personal experiences on discrimination? (This is a very sensitive topic and should only be addressed if, in the course of the evaluation of the exercise "A step forward", a trusting and respectful interaction between the participants took place)

Minute 180 - Feedback on building blocks

After the closing remarks, the moderators receive feedback from the participants using a method of their choice.

Minute 185 - Blue thread

The blue thread is carried out by the seminar team for the first short module and for the second 'diversity, gender and technology' module.

Hints and Notes.

From the authors.

Abbreviated version.

Materials for implementation.

  • To prepare the moderation: Factsheet Moderation and Redemhalten + Respect Guide
  • E-Learning
  • Knowledge storage (refer to the own documentation)
  • Redskript Presentation of the GenderProMint program
  • Figure maps
  • Identity cards/ Roller cards
  • Two graphics by the Stifterverband der Deutschen Wissenschaft and the foundation stud
  • Here's the link to all the material.


Original Version


Current Version


Literature references and sources.