The city of Hamburg prides itself on striving for equality for all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Legal and factual equality remains the focus of the efforts, with female equality improved by the arrival of the Grundgesetz ('basic constitutional law') in 1994 ― but steps are still being taken today to create equal opportunities in life for everyone in Hamburg. In fact, gender equality encompasses many of the important tasks and decisions made today. The Hamburg Ministry for Science, Research and Equality (Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung) ― which works to ensure that the cultural perception of gender equality becomes one of normalcy and eager acceptance ― is a prominent organisation in Hamburg.
Hamburg was one of the first states to enact a legal political framework for equality. Hamburg's own equality act (the Hamburgisches Gleichstellungsgesetz) ensures equal treatment in all public works and services, foundations, corporations and institutions under public law. It also offers equality to Hamburgers in every stage of their lives, from school and education to employment and family. In the realms of employment, the act offers equal chances to equally qualified workers, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. The act is comprehensive and binding.
In public companies, there are several requirements to maintain equality ― companies must have a commissioner and delegate for equal opportunities and an equality plan, and companies must also give priority in training, selection and promotion to the underrepresented sex.
Equality in business
Hamburg's businesses have a responsibility of equality to their workers. So-called 'equality officers' (Gleichstellungsbeauftragte) are tasked with promoting equality, implementing equality laws and helping companies apply them. The equality officers are vital in helping facilitate the creation and implementation of equality plans (involving salary targets, management positions and stipulations to ensure a good work-life balance). Not only this, equality officers are there to take action when workplace equality is lacking.
When jobs are advertised, the advertisement should be gender neutral. Thanks to Hamburg's gender equality act, the selection process must take into account skills and experience that a candidate may have which they acquired outside of a formal work environment ― skills they perhaps gathered through family responsibilities. If both candidates are equally qualified, the underrepresented sex should be chosen in order to ensure a 50/50 balance in the workplace.
Equality at universities
Hamburg's universities also take pride in their forward-thinking plans to encourage equality and diversity amongst students. Universität Hamburg offers Equality Funds, which can be used in order to conduct research into equality and diversity, and a Women's Advancement Fund ('Frauenförderfonds'), used for researching and reducing gender-based discrimination in studying, teaching and research.
The Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) promotes equality in their readiness to undertake a balanced share of responsibility, as well as by checking how all decisions made will affect the living and working conditions of the HAW’s students and staff.
At the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), there is a team of independent equality officers. The university's gender equality unit ('Gleichstellungsreferat') also provides answers to all questions related to equality and can offer advice and information.
Plans and actions
Hamburg also has a number of plans aimed at promoting equality. For example, Pro-Exzellenzia works to increase the number of women in high management positions and is targeted at female students of STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) subjects.