Mourning the Loss of Dr. Dorothee Dickenberger

The University of Mannheim and the School of Social Sciences mourn the loss of Dr. Dorothee Dickenberger, a sociologist and equal opportunity expert. She died on 3 March 2024, a few weeks after her 78th birthday.

Dickenberger studied Sociology in Hamburg, Munich and Mannheim. She completed her doctorate at the University of Mannheim in 1978 with a thesis on the theory of psychological reactance and worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Social Psychology until she retired in 2011. Dickenberger researched social psychology theories and applied them to gender research, research on study progress, and teaching evaluations. From 1989 to 2007, she also was the university's first women's representative and later its equal opportunity commissioner. As a pioneer in this field, she also chaired a senate commission on promoting women’s equal opportunities in studies, research, and teaching. Her tireless commitment to women's rights went even beyond the University of Mannheim: She campaigned for equal opportunity for women and men as spokesperson for the Conference of Equal Opportunities Officers at universities and academic institutions in Baden-Württemberg and was an advisor to the Gender Mainstreaming Advisory Board of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs. She was also a member of the advisory board of the federal conference of women's and equal opportunity commissioners for several years.

During her time in Mannheim, Dickenberger also contributed to re-introduce the Margarete von Wrangell habilitation program and to introducing the Schlieben-Lange program for female researchers in Baden-Württemberg, advocated for part-time study options for parents in bachelor’s and master’s programs, and created the working group against sexual harassment. She also launched the initiative for childcare at the university and then helped to implement the relevant measures.

For her work on equal opportunity at the University of Mannheim, Dickenberger received the University Medal in 1999. In 2011, she received the Federal Cross of Merit for her commitment and her work to promote equal opportunity for women at the higher education institutions in the Land of Baden-Württemberg.

The University of Mannheim and the School of Social Sciences will honor the memory of Dr. Dorothee Dickenberger and will continue the initiatives she has driven forward to realize her vision of a university with equal opportunities.