Learn more about the toolbox

DOING DIVERSITY offers you a collection of best practices on diversity, equality and inclusion at Swiss higher education institutions. Find out more about interesting projects, relevant publications, effective strategies and policies in the toolbox.

You can focus on the three areas “Teaching”, “Practice” and “Research”.

Teaching – learn more about diversity in education: What does diversity in the context of teaching mean? How does inclusive teaching work? Which manuals about inclusive teaching are available?

Practice – Successful projects of Diversity and Equality offices: Which best practices are institutionalised at Swiss higher education institutions? Which successful guidelines, cooperation projects or campaigns already exist?

Research – Analyses, investigations and results on diversity for Switzerland: What is the current state of research on diversity within the Swiss higher education landscape? What can these results contribute to practical implementation?

What about events, call for papers and open positions? Current news and events are also displayed in DOING DIVERSITY, and the full collection can still be found in the news section of Gender Campus.

Do you want to be kept up-to-date about new entries in the toolbox DOING DIVERSITY? Activate this feature in your Gender Campus Digest subscription:

>> Subscribe as a new user
>> Edit my current subscription

The Toolbox DOING DIVERSITY is a module B project cooperation funded by “P-7 Equal opportunity and university development 2017-2020” of swissuniversities.

Project partners: Christiane Löwe (Abteilung für Gleichstellung der Universität Zürich), Andrea Zimmermann (Zentrum Gender Studies der Universität Basel), Ursina Anderegg (Abteilung für Gleichstellung der Universität Bern), Fleur Weibel (Think Tank Gender und Diversity), Patricia Felber, (Fachstelle Gender und Diversity, ZHdK), Jacqueline Kühne (Beauftragte für Sozial- und Umweltverantwortung, PHBern)

What is «Diversity»? An introduction focusing on Swiss higher education institutions

"Diversity" designates and recognises the visible and invisible plurality of people, their living conditions and social affiliations. The aim of diversity politics is to draw attention to exclusion and discrimination, to reduce it and to respect the individuality of each person. To this end, it is essential to create structures that enable and promote plurality in the first place.

At higher education institutions, which are influenced by academic trends such as internationalisation, mobility and the promotion of excellence, diversity represents an explicit or implicit challenge. The debate about diversity focuses on the question: Who learns, teaches and does research under what conditions - and who does not?

How diversity can become an effective tool for university development is a complex matter, especially because the involved actors have different understandings of terms, levels of knowledge and motivation. In addition to ethical and legal arguments, there are economic arguments in favour of dealing with and guaranteeing diversity. Furthermore, “cultural diversity" is defined as a main objective in the context of sustainable development.

Swiss higher education institutions agree that diversity policies should not only make visible and value the diversity that already exists, but should also identify and combat existing exclusions and discrimination. In university practice, however, diversity management poses its very own challenges: Should equality between women and men be integrated into diversity work, or is the coexistence of the two approaches more effective? Is diversity part of sustainable university development? Does the establishment of a diversity office require an additional service or are the existing structures sufficient?
The DOING DIVERSITY toolbox addresses such (and other) questions: The database makes previous activities of Swiss universities in the field of diversity and equality visible and thus serves as a source of information and inspiration for experts and interested parties from theory and practice.

Diversity research has produced various models with different "diversity dimensions". Below you can find out more about the themes which you can use to search the DOING DIVERSITY toolbox:


Currently, up to four generations work together in higher education institutions. In the promotion of research and young talent, but also in employment relationships, age is a decisive factor for inclusion and exclusion – and thus also a central topic for diversity policies. See all entries related to «Age»


People with a disability or chronic illness are much more likely to encounter obstacles in their daily lives. These are not only about stairs or doors, but also other people’s assumptions. Swiss higher education institutions try to counter this, for example by setting up specialized services or measures such as disability compensations. See all entries related to «Disability»


Gender equality remains one of the central concerns of equality and diversity policies at universities. Gender equality between men and women has not yet been achieved in many areas (e.g. in the choice of study programmes or the appointment of professors). Meanwhile, gender equality efforts also take gender identities into account that do not fit into the common binary categories (e.g. trans* or non-binary people). See all entries related to «Gender»


The ideal state of health, which is defined by social norms, does not apply to many people. At the same time, mental and physical health are important prerequisites for studying, teaching and academic research. In times of increasing pressure in academia, which can also have an impact on health, higher education institutions have a responsibility to create a learning and working environment that is as supportive and healthy as possible. See all entries related to «Health»


One of the biggest obstacles to achieving equal opportunities in education is social background. For example, the educational background of parents still often determines what kind of education their children can enter. Even if exclusion starts very early in educational biographies, higher education institutions can contribute to greater equality of opportunity. See all entries related to «Class»

LGBTIQ* (LesbianGayBisexualTransInterQueer*)

This umbrella term attempts to describe the political struggles for recognition of gender and sexual diversity. Not all LGBTIQ* people face the same discriminations – yet there are common experiences and concerns of people whose ways of existence do not correspond to social norms. Diversity policies are increasingly striving to create a higher education environment in which university members of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel included. See all entries related to «LGBTIQ*»


Refugee and migration experiences can make access to Swiss universities more difficult for a variety of reasons. In our globalized world, universities are increasingly confronted with the demand for "education for all" and try to meet this demand with the help of various measures. See all entries related to «Migration»


The unequal treatment of people on the basis of racialized criteria is a widespread practice, even if it often remains unconsidered in post-colonial Switzerland. The discussion of different forms of racism is therefore central to diversity work. Within diversity research, questions of race and migration have been raised from the outset, but in university practice, there is still often a lack of corresponding measures and activities. See all entries related to «Race»

Religion and world-view

Even at higher education institutions, the legally established freedom of belief does not prevent discussions or even conflicts. At universities, being places of learning and work, tolerance and respect should be promoted as well. See all entries related to «Religion and world view»


Many Swiss higher education institutions are aware of the needs of students and employees to be able to balance their professional activities with other areas of life. For example, the care of children, the care of relatives or voluntary activities of university members are increasingly being taken into account at the institutions where learn and work. See all entries related to «Work-life-balance»


Intersectional approaches suggest that different experiences of discrimination and privilege are interrelated and that multiple discriminations are common. Instead of focusing on only one social category, such as gender or race, the various entanglements of these categories are examined and measures are developed to provide specific answers to multiple discrimination. Intersectionality forms an important theoretical and practical basis for the inclusion work of universities. See all entries related to «Intersectionality»


Not only the implementation, but also the sustainable anchoring of diversity measures is an important institutional and social task. How measures, mission statements or strategies can be institutionalised varies from university to university. See all entries related to «Institutionalisation»

This list is not exhaustive. The endeavours towards a more inclusive higher education landscape as well as demands from higher education policy for more equity in the field of education are constantly evolving - they will also be addressed in the toolbox DOING DIVERSITY in the future.