The Alfred Wegener Institute comments on the latest reports in the media and social networks about alleged equality and diversity problems in connection with the MOSAiC expedition

Press release from Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI)

Recent media and social media reports relating to equality and diversity issues associated on one of the Russian support ships for the MOSAiC expedition are in the view of AWI, misleading and unfair.

As the coordinating institution for the MOSAiC expedition, AWI is disappointed that these reports do not accurately reflect our approach to occupational safety or our culture of equality and diversity.

The Alfred Wegener Institute is committed to providing equal treatment and opportunities to all of its employees, research collaborators and job applicants.

During all polar expeditions, onboard ships, on aircraft or on the ice, women and men participate as equals. Gender equality is a priority for AWI. We review frequently the objectives set out in our Agreement on targets for the promotion of equal opportunities 2015–2019. During the MOSAiC expedition, women held 59% of the leading research positions on board the RV Polarstern.

Sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination, in any context, are unacceptable. Our Code of Conduct provides the framework for investigating and managing conflicts should they arise. We respect the confidentiality of our staff, deal with issues promptly and provide support through our complaints procedure.

We work and conduct research under extreme conditions. Safety and well-being on board research ships is a top priority. Our Code of Conduct regulations apply to all expedition participants regardless of their gender. This includes the wearing of appropriate clothing. Pre-deployment training and briefing make these regulations clear to all participants, including research collaborators and media visitors. All staff and visitors receive reminders of these policies and procedures, as well as more detailed information about respectful behaviour and team working; this applies both on our ships and on ships that support our expeditions.

Date of publication: 2 Oct 2020

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