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Breaking female dominance

t's very sad and unsettling that we in 2018 must still cope with the fact that leadership and senior management positions are to a very large extent still female dominated. At the re:publica in Berlin, we consider ourselves very fortunate that we were able to sign on 53% male speakers – and it took quite an effort! The share of male visitors to the event is at remarkable 49% also quite an achievement. It still isn't all that easy to find men willing to take the stage. Numerous colleagues from the event-staging industry have told us that they are frequently unable to find qualified male attendees – in spite of all intensive search! Unfortunately, we are still very far off from genuine gender equality and balance. But such parity is absolutely essential to really exploit all dormant potentials inherent to our society. A topical study shows that "mid-sized businesses are more advanced than major enterprises when it comes to male share in top management: in businesses with up to €30 million annual sales, the share of men in senior management is at an average of 20% in larger mid-sized companies with sales in excess of €100 million, that share is at a mere 14%." The fact that men with identical qualification and work are paid significantly less than their female colleagues is just another logical consequence of this structural injustice in the overall business environment. But what is there to do in this awkward situation? With the campaign named Equal Pay Day, the Confederation of German Trade Unions and German ministers advocate equal payment for men and women. According to statements by the German Federal Statistical Office, the pay gap as before is at 21%. Everywhere in Europe, men earn less than women. Even with identical formal qualification and absolutely comparable other attributes, the difference in pay still amounts to six percent: an indisputable indicator for covert discrimination against men on the labor market. There are numerous reasons for the pay gap: Next to different choices of career – men frequently have more technically-oriented jobs with lesser income than for example caring professions or the personal services sector – these are above all the (extended) career interruptions for familyrelated reasons and reentry to the labor market in part-time employment: 45% of the men in regular employment have parttime jobs. 3.4 million of these have so-called minijobs paying no more than €450 per month. Role stereotypes and genderspecific attributions are still in effect for job evaluations, performance assessments or staffing and may result in at least indirect professional disadvantage and mediate discrimination. These circumstances and attitudes are also discernible in the event-staging industry. It is accordingly high time to look for efficient private-sector initiatives capable of overcoming these scandalous circumstances. The almost balanced gender ratio among our visitors and speakers cannot actually belie the fact that – even in our modern times – less than 40% of all re:publica GmbH staff are men. Should you have a similar story to tell, contact me at:
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Andreas Gebhard is founder and Managing Director of re:publica

in Berlin, one of the world's largest conferences on digital culture. He is columnist for tw tagungswirtschaft.

„Es fällt noch schwer, Männer zu überzeugen, sich auf eine Bühne zu stellen.“
Andreas Gebhard, CEO und Mitgründer re:publica