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University of Basel

25 Years of Equal Opportunities, Diversity & Inclusion

Dedicated since 1998. Image: University of Basel

At Diversity & Inclusion, we celebrate our 25th anniversary. We look back at our eventful history, present our current offerings, and show why we are optimistic about the future.


5x5 Aspects of an Inclusive University

We are using the 25th anniversary as an opportunity to take a closer look at the institutional past and our current offerings through 5x5 aspects of an inclusive university:

  • 5 Figures of an inclusive University
  • 5 Pioneers of gender equality
  • 5 Statements on the Diversity & Inclusion Office
  • 5 Aspects of a family-friendly University
  • 5 Reasons to be optimistic



5 Figures of an inclusive University

Image: University of Basel, Michi Nussbaumer


Discrimination, mobbing and sexual harassment are not tolerated at the University of Basel.

The University of Basel is committed to a culture of dialogue and to the values of integrity, respect, openness, equality and inclusion. All of us - professors, students, lecturers, scientific, administrative and technical staff - are jointly responsible for living these values in everyday life. The Code of Conduct clarifies the guidelines for respectful and professional interaction with each other.


Image: University of Basel, Michi Nussbaumer


A family-friendly university supports its employees so that goals can be achieved both professionally and privately.

As an employer, the University of Basel focuses strongly on the topic of family friendliness, because it supports employees in pursuing their goals both professionally and privately, while enabling them to perform at their best. In 2022 alone, we were able to grant our employees 1606 days of parental leave.


Image: University of Basel, Michi Nussbaumer


The majority of students are female and the majority of teachers are male.

Women continue to be severely underrepresented in leading positions in numerous academic departments. For this reason, the University of Basel is taking tangible measures to increase the proportion of women at all academic levels, especially in the area of professorships.

More Info: Employing more Women


Image: University of Basel, Michi Nussbaumer


At the University of Basel, diverse career paths are welcome in study, teaching, research, administration and management.

Relief options are offered as part of inclusive and life-stage-based people management, as well as various career programs in the areas of mentoring, training and coaching: get on trackstay on trackantelopeZOOM@Novartis, BAMNET, H.I.T., Verhandlungscoaching, FEMtrepreneurs, CARTE BLANCHE.


Image: University of Basel, Michi Nussbaumer


The Students Without Barriers (StoB) service point supports approximately 200 students annually.

With the creation of the StoB service point, many differentiated and interconnected processes have been created over the past ten years to enable the participation of students with disabilities in teaching.



5 Pioneers of gender equality

  • First female student, 1890

    In April 1890, Emilie Louise Frey became the first woman to begin studies at the University of Basel. In 1896, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate from the University of Basel. She was the first woman doctor in Basel and practiced for forty years.
  • First Ordinaria, 1938

    In 1938 Prof. Dr. Elsa Mahler, the Moscow-born daughter of a Swiss and a Baltic German, was appointed Extraordinaria. After studying in St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Munich, she remained in Basel - involuntarily - in 1920. She became the first female professor in Basel and founded the Slavic Seminar.
  • First Vice President, 1998

    In 1998, Prof. Dr. Annetrudi Kress was elected Vice President (Teaching and Advanced Education) for the first time. Previously, as President of the Coordination Commission (1992-1996), she had played a major role in the restructuring of the University in the 1990s. Prof. Dr. Annetrudi Kress was also the first female Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
  • First Head of Equal Opportunities, 1998

    Cécile Speitel was the first head of the Equal Opportunities Department. With the founding of the Equal Opportunities Department in May 1998, the President’s Board and the University Council underscored their commitment to the targeted and intensified advancement of women at the University of Basel.
  • First female President, 2015

    In 2015 for the first time a woman was elected as President of the university with Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andrea Schenker-Wicki. The Zurich economics professor successfully navigated the university through challenging years and was confirmed for a third term in March 2023 by an overwhelming majority.



5 Statements on the Diversity & Inclusion Office

Prof. Dr. iur. Daniela Thurnherr Keller LL.M., Chair of the Regenz

The Diversity & Inclusion Office has sharpened my view of the importance of diversity in research and teaching and shown me ways to promote it.

Prof. Dr. iur. Daniela Thurnherr Keller LL.M., Chair of the Regenz

Prof. em. Edwin C. Constable, former Vice President Research

Diversity in the broadest sense is key to the success of any educational institution. New ideas and innovations emerge from the breadth of experiences and life stories.

Prof. em. Edwin C. Constable, former Vice President Research

Dr. Christiane Löwe, Head Office for Gender Equality and Diversity, University  of Zürich

Together with IDEAS representatives, the Diversity & Inclusion Office implements equal opportunities and diversity in a number of projects.

Dr. Christiane Löwe, Head Office for Gender Equality and Diversity, University of Zürich

Christa Sonderegger, Former Head of Equal Opportunities

Working on equal opportunity goals requires courage, stamina, lateral thinking and a lot of joy from every success, no matter how small. Equal opportunity needs all of us! Working together at eye level leads to tangible enrichment.

Christa Sonderegger, Former Head of Equal Opportunities

Prof. Dr. Philipp Treutlein, Head of Department Physics

I am committed to a family-friendly university - as Head of Department and as President of the Day Nursery Commission. For our institution to be perceived as family-friendly, the framework conditions have to be right and we all have to make our contribution in daily interactions with students, staff and colleagues.

Prof. Dr. Philipp Treutlein, Head of Department Physics

5 Aspects of a family-friendly University

  • Four weeks paternity leave

    The newly created working time regulations offer more family-friendliness and flexibility for employees: Block hours have been abolished in favour of a flexible arrangement that meets personal and operational needs. The new regulations allow employees to spend part of their working time in a home office, if this is operationally possible.
    The University of Basel has also extended paternity leave to four weeks.

  • Emergency care for sick children

    The University of Basel, in cooperation with the Swiss Red Cross (SRC), offers support when a child of preschool or primary school age becomes ill and it is not possible for the parents or caretaker to stay at home.

    Emergency Childcare

  • Harmonisation of maternity leave for doctoral students

    Doctoral students who become mothers during their doctoral studies have the option of extending their employment for the duration of the maternity leave of 16 weeks. The employment can be extended for both structurally and non-structurally employed doctoral students (assistant with Master's degree and project assistant).

    Leaflet

  • Accompanying person for breastfeeding young female scientists

    Breastfeeding junior researchers (doctoral students and postdocs) attending conferences and meetings can settle the travel costs of an accompanying person via the Travel Fund.

  • Caring for Family Members

    The University of Basel grants 10 days of paid absence for the care of Family Members with health problems.


5 Reasons to be optimistic

  •  Diversity & Inclusion, Universität inklusiv gestalten. (Bild: © Adobe Stock)

    Institutional Committent

    The ongoing implementation of new strategies and policies to promote diversity and inclusion within the University of Basel demonstrates the continuous commitment to positive change. The Code of Conduct has captured the institutional culture of collaboration since 2020.
  • Diversity & Inclusion, Familienfreundlich handeln. (Picture: © Adobe Stock)

    Family friendly environment

    The University of Basel creates the necessary framework conditions to enable all its dependents to study and work in a way that is appropriate to their life phase. This applies in particular to the arrangement of childcare or care for relatives in need of support. The University of Basel is certified as family-friendly by the «audit familiengerechte hochschule» of berufundfamilie Service GmbH.
  • Awareness and Training

    The introduction of workshops, seminars, and courses on equity and diversity issues helps to educate the campus community and promote an inclusive atmosphere.
  • Transparency

    The ongoing commitment to equality is also reflected in the salary system. The University of Basel has been awarded the «We Pay Fair» seal of approval following a comprehensive wage analysis. The University of Basel's wages comply with the principle enshrined in the Federal Constitution: «equal Pay for equal Work».
  • Universität Basel, Diversity & Inclusion, Monitoring

    Percentage of Women

    Things are looking up: The annual equality monitoring documents a steady increase in the proportion of women at various academic levels and in institutional bodies. At the professorship level, the proportion of female professors increased by 2% from 2021 to 2022, to 27%.

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