What is the limit of what is reasonable - what is okay, what is "allowed" to be said and heard? An action of the decentralized equality of the medical faculty of the Ruhr-University, which translates the experiences of those affected into words and pictures.

We experience it in the media, at work, in sports, among colleagues, even among friends - sexism. In 2020, a pilot study by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth showed that 44 percent of all women and 32 percent of all men experience sexist signs and assaults by others, 14 percent of all women and 11 percent of all men even several times a month (link).

In conversation with fellow men, it quickly becomes clear, sexism is perceived very diversely on all sides. For those addressed by sexism, the range extends from a shrug of the shoulders, to rolling of the eyes, to powerlessness, sadness and anger. On the other hand, many of the senders of sexism are not aware of the impact of their messages, mean it deliberately provocative-joking and rarely admit problematic behavior. Often the question arises as to the limits of what is acceptable - what is okay, what is "allowed" to be said and heard?

Our poster campaign takes up this topic in image and statement. The texts were created exclusively through feedback from those affected and show the spectrum between open hostility and subtle discrimination.

In the university context as a place of work and study, it must be assumed that particularly high standards for non-discriminatory communication apply, especially with regard to the immanent hierarchy of superiors to employees, or teachers to students.

Our action is intended to be both a campaign to raise awareness and a basis for discussion in our own environment.

What may be said depends on what you feel is appropriate. Therefore, the personal conversation is the best step towards a communication free of discrimination and sexism.

Ask your employees, colleagues, students, fellow students, friends (and, if in doubt, the Equal Opportunity Office) which communication style is appropriate. Show that sexism and discrimination are far from your mind. If you are the recipient of discriminatory communication, please give clear and appropriate feedback and give the other person the chance to reconsider the behavior.

Be sure: You are not alone. Almost all of us have had such experiences, and with us there is a place you can always turn to. We will also be happy to refer you to other internal as well as external points of contact.

Decentral Equality Team
of the Medical Faculty

Ruhr University Bochum