At the initiative of the Diversity Charter, the “Diversity Day” was launched in 2013 and since then has taken place annually in Germany. During this day, the participating companies and institutions such as City of Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg and Siemens Healthineers promote the recognition and appreciation of diversity within their organisational structures by making their commitment for diversity public and offering relevant activities and campaigns for citizens.
In 2017, the City of Erlangen developed a postcard campaign with the motto “Have you already thought in stereotypes today?” in co-operation with partner institutions and companies. The aim of this project was to sensitise a self-aware use of language, as well as respect and appreciation of the individual and its diverse world of experiences.
For implementing the projects, postcards with different everyday statements were designed, which implied unconscious prejudices related to gender issues, as well as subjects of age, disabilities or ethnic backgrounds, etc. Short explications on the back of the postcards encouraged the readers to contemplate the (unintentional) impacts of stereotypes and their use of language. Among others, examples for everyday statements were:
- “Where do you originally come from?”
- “Gay? Well, it doesn’t matter”
- “Poor thing, she is stuck in her wheelchair”
- “Do you voluntarily wear a headscarf?”
- “You look good for your age”
- “Your German is really good!”
- “I only work part-time”
- “She’s got balls”
The colourful printed postcards were distributed to employees of the participating companies and institutions, as well as to the citizens of Erlangen.
The leaders of the participating companies and institutions, Mayer Dr. Florian Janik, Uwe Brög, Head of the Personnel Department (Siemens Healthineers Germany) and Prof. Antje Kley, Vice President for Teacher Training and Equal Opportunities (Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg), emphasised a reflected handling of stereotypes, as well as questioning of thoughts patterns as the basis for exhausting the entire potential of diversity in institutions. Projects such as the postcard campaign, with direct reference to everyday life, highlight the importance of dealing with diversity in a constructive and respectful manner and promoting a critical analysis approach to diversity in individual work contexts and institutions.