What exactly does an Equal Opportunities Officer do?
Sometimes you see professional titles at universities but cannot imagine what that person might actually do. That is why we asked our Equal Opportunities Officer, Prof Dr Alexandra Wuttig, to describe exactly what her job involves.
What is your job title?
I am the IUBH Equal Opportunities Officer and Professor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
What exactly are your responsibilities?
I am responsible for ensuring equal opportunities for all university members at IUBH. It is therefore my business to eliminate unequal treatment, to ensure the compatibility of career and family, and to ensure equal rights for men and women.
How do you become an Equal Opportunities Officer?
There is no single career path, you are usually appointed or elected for a period of time. As a lawyer, I myself have a legal background, but that is certainly not a prerequisite. However, an affinity for diversity issues and a willingness to commit oneself to them is important. I have been involved in this area on a voluntary basis for years and have always regarded the advancement of women as an integral part of my work in my previous business positions as well as in the companies I have founded.
What do you like most about your work?
The opportunity to help others and the aspects of justice that come into play. It is particularly important to me that everyone have equal opportunities and possibilities to grow and flourish.
I remember a conversation with a partner in a law firm who told me how well he was able to reconcile career and children: he has three children and would go home for dinner every night at 7 p.m. for one hour. His wife had given up her job. In answer to my question as to whether they were happy with this model, he said that they had no real choice.
It is important to me that both men and women have a genuine, equitable choice about how to balance work and family. Regardless of gender or background, the starting position should be comparable for everyone. What one ultimately does with it, if anything, is up to each person.
What is an ongoing challenge in your work?
To me, challenges are a positive thing, so I enjoy working together with our Pro-Rector for International Affairs and Diversity to develop a strategy that allows us to make progress in the area of equal opportunities.