Liesel Beckmann Symposia
Starting in 2007, TUM-IAS, together with TUM.Diversity, has been co-sponsoring a series of Liesel Beckmann Symposia and Workshops which in the past have mainly focused on exploring issues with gender research and gender diversity from various angles, more recently broadening the series’ scope to diversity issues in general. On an annual rotation, experts from different specialities are invited to Munich to explore various aspects of this subject. The series is in honor of Liesel Beckmann (1941-1965) who was the first female professor at TUM. She was also the first chair holder in Germany in the area of Business Science. Although in many respects a great pioneer, she fitted into the TUM very well and blasted a path of normalcy for gender equality in its engineering environment. Below you will find more information on the past Liesel Beckmann Symposia, which dealt with very diverse topics: gender related medical issues, youth problems, women in research, education, life sciences and so on. It should not be surprising that in each workshop not only very interesting research issues were treated, but also new issues have arisen that provided good motivation for further exploration. Although “gender” issues, in contrast to “sex-related” issues, have been considered mainly a topic for social sciences, there are enough technical questions arising to justify attention from the scientific and engineering community at TUM, especially when it concerns the connection between behavior and the design of new systems, or the collection and interpretation of data characterizing social systems and serving as input for engineering decision making. TUM-IAS supports the TUM move towards a better integration of technology with societal systems, in which diversity plays such a great role.
For the TUM Liesel Beckmann Distinguished Professors please see this overview.
Liesel Beckmann was born on October 10, 1914 in Limburg (Lahn), the daughter of two teachers. Her father held a doctor title and was headmaster of a local high school. She attended the reformed grammar school and the girls' upper school in Bonn and took her final examinations in 1933. She gained a diploma in Political Economics in 1937 and completed her doctoral thesis on "The Purpose, Development, Nature and Changes in the Promotion of Skilled Trades" in 1939 under the aegis of Professor Karl Rössle. Rössle held the Chair of Economics at the University of Bonn and whom she followed to the Technische Hochschule München in 1938, where she became his assistant. When war broke out, she temporarily took over his lectures in economics and business administration. In 1940, Liesel Beckmann applied for to qualify as a university lecturer for her particular area of expertise. Thanks to her excellent qualifications in the field of economics and Rössle's recommendation, she was approved as a lecturer in 1941, on the condition that she agreed to remain single and "pursue an academic career as her aim in life". Her postdoctoral thesis on "The Position of Skilled Trade in Economics", completed in 1941, authorized her to lecture on the whole spectrum of Economics, and in July 1946 she was finally appointed Associate Professor (Extraordinaria) of the THM.
Soon afterwards the Faculty of Economic Science was transferred to the Ludwig Maximilian University. She was initially deputized for Rössle's Chair, subsequently appointed as tenured Associate Professor in 1953, and eventually made Full Professor of Political Science at the University of Munich in 1956.
Following Rössle's death in 1958, she took over the management of the Munich-based Research Institute and was elected Chief Executive Officer of the German Trade Institute (DHWI) in 1959. She sat on the city council on behalf of the "Munich Block", the party of the middle classes, for 13 years and worked there in the field of commerce and education. She died on 22 July 1965, following a prolonged period of illness.
Women at TUM
Former Liesel Beckmann Symposia
Organization: Focus Group Modern Technology to Support Cognitive and Mental Health
The 2018 Liesel Beckmann Symposium was held on December 12 at the Klinikum rechts der Isar, and in line with the central of this symposium series, we emphasized diversity. In line with the theme of our Focus Group, we were interested in coming together and discussing how the diverse needs of older people who experience cognitive changes could be supported by modern technology. Diverse local, national, and international speakers from various professional backgrounds exchanged their knowledge and ideas, ranging from research into theoretical and ethical concepts to the implementation of new technologies to support care and the quality of life. After a welcome from Prof. Janine Diehl-Schmid (TUM, Center for Cognitive Disorders at the Department of Psychiatry, Klinikum rechts der Isar), Prof. Nicola Lautenschlager (University of Melbourne, TUM-IAS Anna Boyksen Fellow) chaired four diverse talks presented in English.
Professor Gordon Cheng (TUM, Chair of Cognitive Systems) focuses in his research on humanoid robots. As an engineer he is interested in how robots can learn new skills to be able one day to support older people in their homes, potentially extending the length of time they can live independently. Alongisde the practical challenges of developing a humanoid robot that can move, see, and communicate on a sophisticated level, Prof Cheng’s research uses semantic reasoning to investigate how best to teach a robot new skills (e.g., helping in the kitchen) via the steps of observing, interpreting, and replicating actions. Future scenarios in which humanoid robots could offer support in the health and age care sector are abundant.
The second presentation was by Prof. Henriëtte van der Roest (ZorgDNA Utrecht), a social psychologist whose research focuses on the quality of long-term care and assistive technology for people with dementia, as werll as for their caregivers. She gave an overview on assistive technology for dementia, a rapidly growing research field where technologies including integrated systems such as smart houses, robots, mobile devices, APPs, and sensors are investigated in the context of daily living, cognition, emotional and mental health, and physical mobility. This type of research needs to go through various steps focusing on development, usability, effectiveness, deployment, and ethics, adapting to address users' limitations and needs. It also has to get the "consumers" of assistive technologies involved in the research process from the outset. Much more research is needed to determine clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness.
After presentations from Prof. Hans Förstl (Head of Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at TUM) and Prof. Alexander Kurz (Professor of Psychiatry at TUM and the Klinikum rechts der Isar) on aspects of philosophy and ethics with regard to modern technology, the second part of the symposium was held in German and consisted of six short presentations showcasing research projects aiming at practical implementation of technology to improve quality of life and care for people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. The symposium was well attended by a diverse audience including researchers, clinicians, and students. There were lively discussions throughout the symposium, as well as during the coffee break and the concluding get-together. This encouraged us, confirming that the theme of our Focus Group is of interest to many who are passionate about improving the lives of people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.
In 2017, the Liesel Beckmann Symposium, which generally aims to generate new ideas and concepts for gender- and diversity-related research at TUM and to help promote internal and external networking, focused on the topic of evaluation and diversity in science and scholarship.
Current evaluation mechanisms have established accountability and performance measurement as the gold standard route to productivity and (cost-) efficiency in academia. While there are numerous informal discussions about the increasing role of assessments in science and scholarship, it is only recently that considerable research interest is being directed toward the manifest and more intricate effects that assessments might have on the organization and production of knowledge. This is important, because first results indicate that academic assessment systems do not necessarily comply with central ideals and goals of European, national, and institutional research policies: to foster diversity-relevant and socially responsible science.
In this symposium, we explored some of the ways in which evaluations have become pivotal to academic work. We examined how evaluation mechanisms and gender issues become intertwined, how certain notions of "good performance" affect knowledge cultures across fields, and how performance metrics may have become woven into the very socio-material fabric that shapes academic selves.
The program included keynotes by internationally renowned scholars, as well as a panel discussion between researchers and decision makers. In between, presenters and participants used the breaks to connect with each other and exchange their views on and experiences with evaluation and diversity in science and scholarship.
After the welcome by Prof. Sarah de Rijcke (Leiden University, TUM-IAS Anna Boyksen Fellow) and Prof. Ruth Müller (MCTS, TUM), the introductory address was delivered by Prof. Claudia Peus, Senior Vice President for Talent Management and Diversity at the TUM.
The first lecture in the session on Evaluation and Gender was delivered by Dr. Mathias Wullum Nielsen, Aarhus University, who focused on scientific performance assessments through a gender lens. Thereafter, Dr. Marcela Linkova, Czech Academy of Sciences, discussed institutional responses and solutions to gender bias in assessment. Prof. Liudvika Leisyte, TU Dortmund, wrapped up the session with a discussion of the main issues addressed.
The second session focused on the topic of Evaluation and Knowledge Cultures. Prof. Max Fochler, University of Vienna, gave a lecture on why fostering the diversity and sustainability of what we know needs diversity in what counts as good science. His talk was followed by a presentation on valuing in and against epistemic capitalism by Dr. Thomas Franssen, Leiden University. Dr. Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, TUM, wrapped up the session with a response in which he brought together key dilemmas in evaluating multivarious knowledge cultures in academia.
The first lecture in the third session on Evaluation and Academic Selves was delivered by Dr. Christine Teelken, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Dr. Inge van der Weijden, Leiden University. The talk focused on publication and grant pressures, and the tactics scientists use to cope with competition in science. In the second lecture, Prof. Sarah de Rijcke presented collaborative work performed with the MCTS and the TUM-IAS on metrics, merit, and academic identity work. Prof. Pat O’Connor, University of Limerick, Dublin, provided a thought-provoking response to both lectures.
The ensuing panel discussion on Evaluation, Diversity, and Academic careers included panelists from academia and science policy: Prof. Max Fochler, Dr. Mathias Wullum Nielsen, Dr. Marcela Linkova and Prof. Liza Reisel from the Institute for Social Research, Oslo as well as Dr. Ana Santos Kühn, TUM Vice President for International Faculty Recruiting and Career Programs and TUM-IAS Managing Director. The panel was moderated by Prof. Ruth Müller, TUM.
In late November 2016, the TUM-IAS hostedthe annual Liesel Beckmann Symposium, this time with a focus on ethics in medicine: Ethical Counseling in the Age of Personalized Medicine and Diversity Issues. The aim of the one-day conference was to investigate how the need for services providing ethical decision making support has grown in the age of globalization and personalized medicine. Starting with the premise that ethical controversies and difficult ethical decisions in the daily activity of a hospital are strongly influenced by gender issues, cultural differences, moral values and religious beliefs, participants focused on how the quality of these ethical decisions can be increased.
The conference was chaired by Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio (Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine, TUM), and Giovanni Boniolo (Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Chirurgico Specialistiche, Università di Ferrara & TUM IAS). Chiara Mannelli (Università di Torino) served as scientific coordinator.
The speakers, who came from several European and non-European countries, approached the topic from three different perspectives: ethical counseling, diversity and personalized medicine. Giovanni Boniolo opened the conference with a talk on ethical counseling and diversity. Mark Sheehan (Ethox Centre Oxford) focused on the relation of ethical counseling and authority; Marta Spranzi (Université de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines) discussed the impact of culture and religion in clinical ethics consultation. Maya Sabatello (Columbia University, New York), Silke Schicktanz (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Ruth Chadwick (Cardiff University) and Mariacarla Gadebusch-Bondio (TUM) emphasized how personalized medicine in its different forms can generate ethical questions and conflicts.
Even though an airline strike prevented Ruth Chadwick from participating in person, she was able to participate via Skype.
At the 8th Liesel Beckmann Symposium, the organizers brought together experts from the field of fetal programming based on adverse exposures during the earliest phases of life. The focus was on the development and early prevention of the global epidemic of cardiometabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes type 2, atherosclerosis, and its consequences, myocardial infarction and stroke. Nearly 100 participants responded to the joint invitation from the TUM Institute for Advanced Study, Prof. Renate Oberhoffer of the Institute for Preventive Pediatrics at TUM, and 2015 Anna Boyksen Fellow Regina Ensenauer, professor of Experimental Pediatrics and Metabolism at the University of Düsseldorf.
The origin of cardiometabolic diseases may occur very early in fetal life. However, the underlying mechanisms, referred to as “fetal programming,” resulting in increased risks of later-life health problems, are still poorly defined. Effective prevention programs have to integrate very early aspects, such as efforts to change life style during pregnancy.
This symposium provided insights into an emerging field with one introductory and four keynote lectures. After the welcome by Prof. Renate Oberhoffer and Prof. Regina Ensenauer, the introductory lecture was given by Prof. Sjurdur Olsen, head of the Danish Centre for Fetal Programming in Copenhagen, Denmark. He gave a general overview on fetal programming of cardiometabolic diseases.
The first keynote lecture by Prof. Andreu Palou, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain, focused on animal models in the field of fetal programming research.
Thereafter, Prof. Thomas Haaf, head of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Würzburg, provided an overview on the epigenetics of gestational diabetes in the second keynote lecture. In the third keynote lecture, Prof. Helena Gardiner, a fetal cardiologist from the University of Texas, USA, focused on the prenatal environment and later human cardiovascular disease. The fourth keynote lecture by Prof. Wolfgang Koenig from the German Heart Center in Munich discussed epidemiological aspects of cardiometabolic diseases and highlighted the importance of prevention strategies.
During a “poster walk” at the lunch break, young investigators presented their scientific findings and had the opportunity to discuss them in detail with experts from the field. A poster prize was awarded. Two parallel afternoon sessions dealt with 1.) nutritional programming and aspects of prevention and 2.) cardiovascular programming and aspects of physical activity in early prevention. Experts provided overviews on state-of-the-art topics in these areas and discussed potential strategies for further research.
November 3, 2014
Organization: Chair for Strategy and Organization, TUM
In 2014, the Liesel Beckmann Symposium, which generally aims to generate new ideas and concepts for gender and diversity related research at TUM and to help promote internal and external networking, focused on the topic of gender in organizations. Under the title “Solutions! Diversity in Organization: New Ways of Working,” 181 participants followed the invitation from the TUM-IAS, TUM.Diversity, and the Chair for Strategy and Organization of the TUM School of Management to the city campus in Munich.
Researchers from TUM and other universities and practitioners working on gender equality in organizations from TUM, other universities, and private organizations took part. Researchers and practitioners discussed new solutions for introducing gender equality, particularly with regard to performance evaluations, promotion decisions, and rewards in organizations. The program included keynotes by internationally renowned scientists, parallel workshops, and a discussion including panelists from academia, politics, and private organizations. In between, participants used the networking breaks to connect with each other and exchange their experiences with gender and diversity in organizations.
Keynotes by internationally renowned scientists
After the welcome by Prof. Isabell M. Welpe (Strategy and Organization, TUM) and Prof. Klaus Diepold (Senior Vice President for Diversity and Talent Management, TUM), three keynotes introduced the participants to the latest research results on gender in organizations.
Keynote 1: “Same behavior, different consequences: Gender bias at work”
by Prof. Madeline E. Heilman.
Prof. Madeline E. Heilman is a professor of Psychology at New York University and a TUM-IAS Anna Boyksen Fellow by invitation of the Chair for Strategy and Organization. With her research focusing for more than 30 years on gender in organizations, Prof. Madeline E. Heilman is one of the most outstanding researchers in this field and has published throughout that time in international top journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology. Based on this profound experience on the topic, her talk discussed the nature of gender stereotypes and their detrimental effects on women’s career progress. It particularly addressed the question of why being competent and qualified provides no assurance to a woman that she will advance to the same organizational level as an equivalently competent and qualified man.
Keynote 2: “Beyond the glass ceiling: The glass cliff and the precariousness of women’s leadership positions” by Prof. Michelle Ryan.
Prof. Michelle Ryan is a professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. In her keynote, she presented her research program on the glass cliff phenomenon, which was short-listed for the Times Higher Education Supplement Research Project of the Year in 2005 and was named as one of the ideas that shaped 2008 by the New York Times. While women are breaking through the glass ceiling in increasing numbers, they are more likely than men to be placed in leadership positions that are risky and precarious – that is, on the “glass cliff.”
Keynote 3: “The gender pay gap: Is it simply a lack of recognition of women’s contributions?” by Dr. Clara Kulich.
Rounding up the keynotes on gender in organizations, Dr. Clara Kulich from the University of Geneva presented her research on the gender pay gap. This research predominantly shows differences between male and female remuneration, controlling for a number of human-capital factors. Kulich’s talk illustrated that investigations of the context in which pay disparities occur point to a complex interaction of factors that goes beyond a simple difference in pay.
Workshops on solutions
With the keynotes having presented and delineated the main challenges for achieving gender equality in organizations, the workshops aimed to foster discussion on how organizations can respond with appropriate solutions. In three parallel workshops (workshop 1: Performance evaluations in organizations, led by Prof. Madeline E. Heilman; workshop 2: Promotion and appointment decisions in organizations, led by Prof. Michelle Ryan; and workshop 3: Rewards and managerial remuneration in organizations, led by Dr. Clara Kulich), the symposium participants vigorously discussed with the scientific experts new ideas, measures, and approaches for promoting unbiased performance evaluations, promotion and appointment decisions, and reward allocations in organizations.
Panel discussion on Solutions! Diversity in Organizations: New Ways of Working
This discussion included panelists from academia, politics, and private organizations: Prof. Sabine Doering-Manteuffel (President, University of Augsburg); Dr. Rudolf Gröger (President, Munich Business School, and former CEO of O2); Dr. Beate Merk (Minister of State, European Affairs and Regional Relations); Prof. Gerhard Müller (Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, TUM); and Bettina Reitz-Luebbert (TV director, Bayerischer Rundfunk). Moderated by Prof. Isabell M. Welpe, they discussed reasons for the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, changes and measures to foster the promotion of women into leadership positions, and the necessary immediate next steps for achieving gender equality.
In 2013, the Department of Informatics designed the Liesel Beckmann Symposium with the theme “Mein Informatik-Puzzle,” or “Puzzling out Informatics,” as part of the faculty’s activities to promote diversity and gender equality. The symposium was chaired by Prof. Anne Brüggemann-Klein (TUM), with advisors Prof. Karin Zachmann (TUM), Veronika Oechtering (Universität Bremen), and the Informatik-Forum Frauen IFF (TUM). The concept for the symposium was based on the conviction that informatics thrives in an environment that values a rich spectrum of approaches to and perspectives on the field. A multifaceted image of informatics grows best in a heterogeneous community that reflects society’s composition with respect to gender, social and cultural background, age, and life experience, the unifying forces being a common interest in computational thinking and the vision to contribute to the well-being of society with the tools of the trade (cultural perspective). The symposium provided a forum for computer science students and professionals in academia and industry to puzzle out individual perspectives on informatics and to contribute to a comprehensive, effective, and sustainable concept of the field. The symposium facilitated exchange, reflection, and validation; delegates developed a rich image of informatics and its practitioners.
The symposium was organized into two sections, offering talks in the morning and workshops in the afternoon. Two talks in the morning dealt with career paths in informatics. First, Prof. Ute Schmid, University of Bamberg, provided a bird’s-eye perspective, reporting on the European Social Funds-sponsored study “Alumnae Tracking.” The study is unique in generating insights into subjective and objective career barriers for women, specifically in informatics; it is also unique for its approach in methodically analyzing matched pairs of men and women. Second, Sara Adams (Google Munich), in her inspirational talk “Becoming a software engineer at Google,” allowed for a fascinating and very personal close-up view, spotlighting love for foundational work and applications in mathematics and informatics, dedication and hard work, self-reflection, resilience in the face of adversity, persistence, inventiveness, high professional standards, and her puzzle pieces of work-life balance.
In the afternoon, four parallel workshops provided opportunities to puzzle out one’s own image of informatics in an informal atmosphere.
(1) An improvisational theater workshop, led by Dorothea Anzinger (Anzinger Team Training) under the title “Der Homo Informaticus — Wer sind wir und wenn ja, wie viele?!”, addressed stereotypes in a creative and humorous way. It also – and more importantly – provided first-hand experience with a team-building technique for heterogeneous teams.
(2) For the second workshop, Prof. Schmid returned with two colleagues, Anja Gärtig-Daugs and Silvia Förtsch, to present “Selbstwahrnehmung und Fremdwahrnehmung von Studentinnen und Studenten der Informatik.” An empirical study prompted reflection on delegates’ personal experiences.
(3) “Nerds or Geeks — Public and Self-Image of Computer Scientists in Different Countries”: that was the title of an image workshop presented by Christine Müller (TUM) and Nastaran Matthes (infoAsset). The two workshop leaders work and worked, respectively, as international student advisors at TUM. They created the highly esteemed International Café and other community-building events for international students in the Department of Informatics. They were uniquely positioned to guide workshop participants in exploring the image of informatics in Germany versus the international perspective, inspiring a widening of the horizon.
(4) In the World Café Computational Thinking, we discussed computational thinking as a mindset that contributes to problem solving outside informatics. The format of this workshop had been designed by Michaela Gluchow (TUM), who was ill on the day of the symposium, so Prof. Brüggemann-Klein took over.
The symposium concluded with live improvisational theater, presented by the first workshop, and a lively final discussion. There was general agreement that Sara Adams’s talk had been exceptionally inspirational and that the improvisational workshop had provided novel experiences. The symposium was generally well received, although some participants were critical of its perceived gender bias.Participants appreciated goodies that were donated by Google, and Amazon gift coupons that were donated by infoAsset.
The symposium has had lasting impact: The University of Bamberg and TUM continue to explore collaboration on statistics, the materials from the World Café Computational Thinking have been integrated into the teaching of introductory classes and outreach programs, and we hope to further explore improvisational theater as a development technique for diverse teams at TUM.
The talks focused on the topic of gender in Agricultural Science, Silviculture, Biology, Food Science and Clinical Nutrition, thereby representing the subject range of the Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan (WZW). Excellent and internationally renowned speakers could be engaged for four talks which took place in the morning, and four workshops in the afternoon, all of which contributed to the symposium’s ambitious and diversified program.
Patricia Howard, the editor of “Women and Plants: Gender Relations in Biodiversity Management and Conversation,” who is an internationally well-known expert in this subject, opened the symposium with a highly informative and interesting talk on “Women, Agrobiodiversity, and Tipping Points.” She elaborated on the various roles, relationships and interactions between women and the natural environment as can be found in various cultures, and focused on their importance for preserving biodiversity. In her talk about “Women in Agriculture,” in which she returned to our own culture and history, Simone Helmle took her audience on a fascinating and entertaining journey through time. Ina Bergheim asked “Different Gender, Different Food?” from a clinical nutrition point of view and explored gender-specific differences concerning the development of dietary-related diseases in children and adults. Then Mathilde Schmitt took up the topic of Agricultural Science again in her talk on “Inclusion and Differentiation in Life Sciences, Seen through a Gender Perspective.” She critically reflected on structural obstacles that repeatedly lead to the marginalization and even exclusion of female scientists.
After a lunch break the participants spread out to several workshops, where time flied thanks to lively discussions and exiting topics, with which many of the participants had not been familiar before. Christina Bauhardt asked “What Does Climate Have to Do with Gender”; she put up for discussion the correlation of ecology, resource policy and gender justice. The workshop guided by Elisabeth Mense discussed “subtle differences” in nutrition and examined the connection between nutrition, social inequality and gender. In the second round of workshops, Kerstin Palm suggested to critically challenge popular scientific theories on biological gender differences that entrench themselves into clichés in sayings such as “Men cannot listen, women cannot park properly.” Christine Katz pointed to “Where the Wild Things Are” in order to analyze the “male-dominated forestry”.
To conclude the symposium, the participants were invited to discuss the day’s many information and impressions in a familiar atmosphere at a small reception.
In cooperation with the Gender Center of the Technische Universität München, and within the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State Governments, the Institute for Advanced Study organized its fourth Liesel Beckmann Symposium on themes of gender and diversity. On an annual basis, we invite internationally renowned speakers to speak about themes that relate in particular to the interests of a technical university.
This year’s symposium, held on November 25, 2010 was devoted to the theme “Gender in the Business Sciences” and is especially relevant in the light of current debates. In view of demographic change and the variety of life paths chosen by men and women, German companies increasingly recognize that they must undergo a readjustment process: the barriers of stereotypical gender roles must be broken and, simultaneously, exclusion mechanisms must be overcome. Hence, companies are actively implementing supportive measures for women and are increasing the number of women in leadership positions.
The focus of the lectures and workshops included “leadership” in addition to “gender marketing” and “gender budgeting”. Prof. Dr. Sabine Sczesny from the Universität Bern spoke about social change of both gender stereotypes and leadership styles. Prof. Ph.D. Madeline Heilman of New York University gave a talk on the topic “positive discrimination” and its ambivalent consequences for career development and Prof. Ph.D. Ailsa McKay of Glasgow Caledonian University discussed the theme “gender budgeting”.
For the third year in a row, on November 26, 2009, the Institute for Advanced Study of the TUM hosted the Liesel Beckmann Symposium focused on the topic of gender in teaching.
This year’s Liesel-Beckmann-Symposium dealt with gender in teaching not only in its forms, but also with the goal of integrating gender aspects in the subject matter.
For the second time, on the 27th and 28th of November 2008, the Institute for Advanced Study of the TUM hosted the Liesel-Beckmann-Symposium, which focused on the topic of gender in medicine. The Symposium is held every year and highlights a subject area, which is of interest for the technical University, due to gender and diversity aspects. The Symposium 2008 was opened by TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann.
Prof. Dr. John Hess, director of the German heart center in Munich and therefore also host, welcomed the participants and noted the great importance of the subject for medicine.
The first lecture was given by Prof. Dr. Barbara Duden of the Leibniz-University in Hannover. She approached the subject from of a humanities point of view. Prof. Duden was significantly involved in making the body a legitimate object of the humanities. In her contribution, she addressed the issue of the change in modern medicine, to now approach sicknesses, and health, especially from a statistical analysis point of view, and which effects the emphasis that probabilities has on the perception of the body, especially for women.
Prof. Dr. Catherine Whiteside, Dean of the medical school and Vice President of the University of Toronto, was invited as an international guest speaker. Prof. Whiteside has invested a lot of time, in addition to excellent medical research, into improving the medical education of doctors and medial researchers. Her lecture showed, through the example of the University of Toronto, which measures were most successful in that area.
Prof. Dr. Vera Regiz-Zagrosek, the most noted German gender-physician was the third speaker at symposium: she currently researches at the Charité in Berlin on gender-specific attributes of heart diseases. Her lecture discussed the differences of cardiovascular illnesses of men and women, which not only express themselves in different perceived symptoms, but also in the differences of diagnosis and therapy.
During the workshops held on the second day, the participants had the opportunity to discus the topics with the speakers again and in greater depth, and to devote to the question of ways to reduce the gender-induced disadvantage of women in medicine, including how the subject can be further developed in the medical practice and research.
The first Liesel Beckmann Symposium, organized by TUM's Institute for Advanced Study, was held on November 29 and 30, 2007. The Symposium marks the beginning of a series of events revolving around the topics of Gender and Diversity, to be organized by the Technische Universität München every year from now on. The symposium was opened by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, President of TU München.
The American science historian, Prof. Londa Schiebinger of Stanford University, who has spent years researching the role of women in science, was invited as an international guest speaker. She proceeded to illustrate how the inclusion of women has changed the face of science and outlined to what extent gender aspects need to be integrated in the various scientific disciplines, particularly emphasizing the importance of gender-awareness training.
The speakers also included Mrs. Ursula Schwarzenbart, who is Director of the Global Diversity Office of Daimler AG. She gave an insight into Daimler's strategy of implementing diversity and presented diverse measures employed by the corporation, ranging from mentoring programs and awareness training for executives to the obligatory reports on the gender distribution when seeking to fill job vacancies.
Prof. Dr. Martina Schraudner, who is in charge of the „Discover Gender“ project embarked on by the Fraunhofer Association, provided information on integrating Gender and Diversity in technology and product development. In particular, she stressed the importance of including the various customer groups in the development procedure right from the start of any innovation process to ensure that the finished product ultimately serves a practical purpose.
During the workshops held on the second day, the speakers delved into their respective topics in greater depth while also providing the participating students, scientists and representatives from industry with an opportunity of entering into conversation with one another and of asking questions on the papers presented on the first day. The Symposium ended with an interactive exchange of ideas and views in the form of a world café.
The concept of the Symposium proved to be an all-round success, from the point of view of both content and organisation! We are looking forward to the Liesel Beckmann Symposium 2008!