Gender, Diversity & Language

„Die Goethe-Universität ist ein Ort argumentativer Auseinandersetzung; Forschung und Lehre stehen in gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung.“ (Aus dem Leitbild der Goethe-Universität)

Language is the central instrument we use to share arguments, research results and knowledge in a responsible manner. Language is also the most important instrument for participation, especially at a university. Whether written or spoken, language is how we connect with each other on institutional, professional and interpersonal level. Aspects of language also decide questions of belonging and participation – and, conversely, exclusion. Frankfurt's diversity and the diverse life situations of all our members and affiliates are reflected in everyday life on Goethe University's campuses. However, it is not given that we use inclusive and non-discriminatory language that reflects this reality.

Goethe University advocates a gender-inclusive use of language that addresses all members and affiliates in their diversity and dismantles discrimination. A use of language that also addresses people who see themselves as neither male nor female, and which thus challenges our language's underlying two-gender structure, is an essential step. Our standpoint is underpinned by legal innovations concerning the protection of gender self-determination.

Following the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 10 October 2017 (Ref.: 1 BvR 2019/16) and the amendment of the Civil Status Act of 18 December 2018, there are now four options for registering gender: male, female, diverse, no entry.

The comprehensive brochure “Gender-inclusive Language Guidelines" can be found here.
Useful brochures and guidelines can be found here.

Diversity-sensitive Media Language

In its use of language in media too (pictures, videos, etc.), one of Goethe University's prime concerns is to ensure that the chosen representations are diversity-sensitive and in a non-discriminatory way. Focusing on people's diversity and their different ways of life should be the aim of all those creating publicity material (websites, flyers, etc.). The “Recommendations for Diversity-sensitive Media Language" are intended to help increase the visibility of diversity at Goethe University and avoid discrimination through media representation as far as possible.

Brochure "Recommendations for action for a diversity-sensitive media language" (Broschüre "Handlungsempfehlungen für eine diversitätssensible Mediensprache" (German))


Diversity Policies Officers

Saskia-Fee Bender
Fon: +49 69 798-18 130

Dr. Daniela Heitzmann
Fon: +49 151 720 693 65

Dilara Kanbiçak
Fon: +49 69 798-18 127

Anna Carolin Müller
Fon: +49 160 967 665 45

Dr. Thuy Loan Nguyen
Fon: +49 69 798-18 129

Visiting address
SKW-Building | 5th floor
Rostocker Str. 2
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Postal address
Equal Opportunities Office
Goethe University Frankfurt
Postbox 227
60629 Frankfurt am Main