Today – more than one hundred years later – the Federal Foreign Office looks entirely different: half of its staff are women, approximately one-seventh come from migrant backgrounds, some 300 staff members have a severe disability, and many live in a civil partnership or same-sex marriage. Nearly half of the staff are locally employed at Germany’s missions abroad. Only 20% of these are German citizens – so a large majority of local staff belong to a variety of cultures, ethnic groups and religions.
This makes equal opportunity and diversity high-profile issues at the Federal Foreign Office – during the recruitment process and career development, as well as in everyday work. To publicise its commitment to these topics, the Federal Foreign Office has drawn up a Diversity Strategy that lists the objectives and measures through which it makes diversity and equal opportunity part of its everyday operations.
Just like the Diversity Charter, which it signed in 2014, the Federal Foreign Office defines “diversity” to mean the commonalities and differences of staff members, based on their individual personalities and lifestyles or life plans. The Federal Foreign Office views diversity as including the dimensions of age, disability, ethnic origin and nationality, gender, religion and ideology, sexual orientation and identity, as well as social background. With its Diversity Strategy, the Federal Foreign Office is pursuing a comprehensive approach that includes all of the dimensions of diversity in equal measure.
In implementing the Strategy, the Federal Foreign Office relies on the expertise and the support of the Gender Equality Representative, the Spokesperson for Severely Disabled Persons and the Staff Council, as well as on various staff initiatives at the Federal Foreign Office, such as Rainbow, the informal association of LGBTIQ staff; Diplomats of Color, which draws attention to the issues faced by people who have experienced racism and discrimination; frauen@diplo, which campaigns for equality at both the Federal Foreign Office and in Germany’s foreign policy; and Eibolk, an association of parents with children in need of particular support.