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Who or What We Are and Where We Are Today

The reasons to found the dib were similar to those of the annual congress of women in science and engineering. Most women associations related to this area have their roots at this congress. In the beginning, we felt uneasy with our particular situation as women in engineering and technology, being the only woman among male engineers or being the only woman engineer among our (female) friends respectively within the women’s movement. In addition, we had the desire to exchange experiences and to discuss professionally with other female experts. Beyond these reasons we also had the need to alter this situation not only for us personally but also socio-politically: i.e. to accomplish „the real equal treatment of al genders regarding education and profession, the increase of the share of women in technical professions and the compatibility of work and family for men and women“. Among other things, this includes a critical view to current technologies of influence, to the organization of industry, and to the current development of technology, from our perspective.
In comparison, the dib is a relatively small association with about 400 members. Still, it evolves continuously and it is continually gaining in importance. To date, the work is done voluntarily by women already fully busy with academic studies, a profession and / or a family. That is why we concentrate our resources deliberately on aspects in which we are „unique“. We also concentrate on topics in which our members are involved because of their personal interests. Certainly, these topics are consistent with our goals. That is why our priorities are directed so far to a more practical level instead of towards the development of new theoretic, scientific, or concepts questioning technology, or to concepts regarding criticism of science. These areas are the ones that comprise our particular strengths since organizing and taking action were part of our education and socialization as women engineers.

The dib as a Professional Organisation

As a union of women experts, the dib is a (technical-related) professional organisation of women engineers. The focus of our exchange follows the motto „to talk (differently minded) with other women about engineering and technology“. In its function as a professional organisation the dib offers e.g. a forum to discuss technical problems relating the working world, training workshops, thematically focused articles in the association’s magazine and field trips to interesting topics, e.g. places of work and companies. In comparison to other professional organisations, the dib not only differs because of its all-women members but also because of its consciously and intentionally biased female view to engineering and its effects. One of our long-term goals is to deepen debating of the topic “feminist technology criticism and design” in co-operation with the corresponding sister associations.

The dib as a Professional Association

As a union of women engineers, the dib is also a professional association wanting to improve the professional situation of women engineers and their options. One of the dib’s tasks is to describe and present our particular situation to the public. Another task is to stand up for the interests of women engineers as „women experts and lawyers on their own behalf“.
Additionally to the mutual professional support, our members are also involved in interesting young women in engineering and technology, in motivating them to choose a technical profession whether by vocational training or by academic studies and in supporting them on their professional development. It’s our goal to increase the share of qualified women in engineering and technology as well as to alter the structures in engineering studies and the working world by deploying well-directed lobbying. For this, we also use the international comparison and the formation of international unions. With our all-women members, our independency, and our particular perspective of view we differ from other professional organisations and associations. The aspects named above more and more emerge as an important focus of our work (e.g. co-operating in women's associations and organizations, organizing conventions, contributing to conferences, panel discussions, and other events, participating in fairs, public relations including statements and resolutions as well as press work and extensive internet portal which includes a job centre). Getting more young women, unemployed women and women living in the five new federal states of Germany interested in our work is one of our most important tasks in the near future.

The dib as a Network

As a union of women for women being engineers, the dib is also a network for these women to exchange experiences, to inform each other, and for mutual support in a daily routine. The dib forms a modern female-specific balance to the so-called „old boys networks“, e.g. fraternities. By now, we are in positions to support both each other and other young women, in positions where our women patronages / rope teams (may) have an impact. This function is and will be the real strength, the backbone of the dib. The exchange with and the contact to like-minded women being at home in the same professional fields takes place in regional groups and in the dib’s magazine, at our conferences, and at the general annual meeting. Our individual development and the strengthening of our personality are always important to us.
With our common, still “untypical for women” but successful daily work routine in engineering and technology, the dib mainly differs from other women networks.

The dib as a Feminist Association

As a union of all-women in engineering, the dib is also a feminist association wanting to improve the situation of all women, demanding, equal opportunities and rights, and watching the development of society from a biased female angle of view. Therefore, our topics, statements, and resolutions refer also to issues affecting and concerning women, e.g. §218 (German paragraph about abortion), German tax reform, German pension reform, the equality law. We support the demands as well as other organisations mainly by adding our very particular arguments to the general discussion. To date, the commitment of the dib to this sheerly inexhaustible range of topics depends on whether single members are feeling particularly concerned and therefore are willing to take action. This will still be the case in the future. We hope that the number of these initiatives will continue to increase.