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Certainly not only women's business

The second edition of 'She Means Business' showed that gender equality concerns all of us – and an 'elephant in the room' will certainly not upset women.

he Means Business" has obviously touched a nerve; Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group and co-initiator of the new conference, is certain: "Diversity should be a matter of fact to everyone." The meeting industry is also keen on understanding this issue more comprehensively and the 'She Means Business' is an important platform, Bauer emphasized in her welcoming speech. The second edition of 'She Means Business' was staged in Frankfurt on May 20 of this year in context with IMEX Education Monday. Around 300 persons attended; almost 30 speakers filled ten slots with expert knowledge and joined in 14 roundtable discussions. This turnout was actually better than the initiators themselves had anticipated. "Demographic change, the war for talents and diversity awareness have put the focus on women in the business world," emphasized Kerstin Wünsch, tagungswirtschaft's editor-in-chief as well as co-initiator and moderator of the 'She Means Business'.


Save the date: She Means Business America will take place on 9 September 2019 on the day before IMEX America at Sands Expo in Las Vegas. As part of Smart Monday, the conference about diversity, gender equality and female empowerment will be organized by the IMEX Group and tw tagungswirtschaft in cooperation with Meeting Professionals International (MPI). www.imexamerica.com
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Compatibility of family and career, Gender Pay Gap, Glass Ceiling, Mentoring... 14 topics the women on stage wanted to discuss about on round tables.

The topic is gaining in relevance for men, too. There is growing understanding that Gender Equality is not only women's business. Much to the contrary: an ever-increasing number of men are standing up for equality and diversity in business. Why? Because economic and social developments and trends very simply call for considerable rethinking in the business world.

That was very clearly communicated at the 'She Means Business': Louis Tongbong-Thomson and Gernot Sendowski were the two male speakers taking the podium – and they were agreed on a number of issues. "Equality and diversity urgently need more male role models," said Tongbong-Thomson, Senior Associate Diversity with Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC). He is convinced that in order to drive a positive development in businesses, male supervisors must also urgently make use and set examples of part-time models for themselves. Gernot Sendowski came straight to the point: when asked by the moderator about why he bothered at all with the issue of equality, the banker responded with a simple counterquestion: "Why shouldn't it bother me? It's very simply just the right thing to do." And Sendowski can't be all wrong, either. Not only because he is Head of Diversity & Inclusion with Deutsche Bank and Deputy Chairman of the 'Charta of Diversity', his applause at the 'She Means Business' proved him right as well.


Es sind blanke Zahlen, die die Unternehmen zum Umdenken beim Thema Gender Equality und Vielfalt zwingen. In Deutschland etwa sind nur 71 Prozent aller erwerbsfähigen Frauen berufstätig. Bei den Männern liegt die Erwerbsquote bei 82 Prozent. Aktuell sind 46 Prozent der Frauen Teilzeitbeschäftigte, aber nur 11 Prozent der Männer. Nur 26 Prozent der Führungskräfte auf erster Ebene sind weiblich. Der zunehmende Arbeitskräftemangel aufgrund des demografischen Wandels erfordert jedoch eine höhere Beschäftigungsquote von Frauen. Und dafür braucht es bessere Karrierechancen für Frauen und bessere Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie.

But it was up to female attendants to table another important issue at the conference: the compatibility of family and career – or as one of the attending women put it: 'the elephant in the room'. This is because all change in attitude in businesses, all new concepts, coaching and mentoring programs make little sense if too many women (must) choose between family and career. And that was a reference eagerly taken up by the many women on the 'She Means Business ' stage in Frankfurt. Nelly Mukazayire, for example: the CEO of the Rwanda Convention Bureau and mother-of-two narrated her fast and demanding career, and she also has a very clear opinion on the 'elephant in the room'. "24/7 mothers aren't necessarily better moms," said Mukazayire. After all, the intent of both family life and job performance is "good results". What matters, the Central African professional pointed out, is how you ready your children for life and the values you teach them. Britta Wirtz, CEO Messe Karlsruhe, also has a professional attitude: "Anybody who can manage events and expos can also manage a family."

Martina Niemann of course has a more programmatic approach. She is not only Head of Lufthansa HR Management, but also a member of the G20's Business Women Leaders Task Force (BWLTF). "Affordable childcare for all is extremely important to solve this problem," said Niemann. She also pointed out that it's important to significantly grow and develop the concept of Shared Leadership. It must be easier and more common for women and/or men to share a senior management position. Moreover, Niemann at the 'She Means Business' presented the seven-point plan for promoting gender equality, which the BWLTF prepared on behalf of G20. The task force's plan not only urges to abolish numerous legal and social barriers, and an end to violence against and discrimination of women, but also closing the Digital Gender Gap. Niemann pointed out that women all over the world have distinctly fewer opportunities for access to all forms of digitalization. This needs to be changed very rapidly, to make sure that women do not fall behind in this extremely important domain.


Gernot Sendowski macht sich für das Thema Vielfalt stark.FOTO: DEUTSCHLANDSTIFTUNG INTEGRATION
Gernot Sendowski macht sich für das Thema Vielfalt stark.
Gernot Sendowski, Deputy Chairman „Charta der Vielfalt“ und Head of Diversity & Inclusion Deutsche Bank, über die neue Rolle von Männern.

tw: Wie weit sind deutsche Unternehmen denn bereits bei den Themen Vielfalt und Gleichberechtigung?
Gernot Sendowski: Das lässt sich nicht pauschalisieren. Auch hier ist das Spektrum vielfältig und sollte individuell betrachtet werden. Die Studie „Diversity in Deutschland“ von EY und Charta der Vielfalt ergab, dass mehr als 65 Prozent der Befragten überzeugt sind, dass Diversity Management der eigenen Organisation konkrete Vorteile bringe. Trotzdem haben zwei Drittel der Unternehmen noch keine Maßnahmen im Diversity Management umgesetzt.

Eine relativ neue Erkenntnis lautet: Gleichberechtigung für Frauen ist auch ein Thema für Männer. Warum eigentlich?
Mich wundert die Frage. Als Führungskraft mit Blick aufs Ganze ist Gleichberechtigung für Frauen auch ein Thema für alle Geschlechter. Und aus meiner Sicht als männliche Führungskraft, ist es einfach das Richtige, zu tun. Zwei Gründe als Beispiele: Erstens sehe ich beim Blick auf die Top-Etagen deutscher Unternehmen unverändert überwiegend Männer. Zweitens sind Vielfalt und Teilhabe positive Wettbewerbsfaktoren für Unternehmen.

Man hört immer öfter: Gleichberechtigung braucht auch männliche Role Models. So müssten Männer beispielsweise deutlich öfter Teilzeit-Jobs ausüben. Ein frommer Wunsch oder machbar?
Selbstverständlich ist es machbar und wird aus verschiedenen Gründen auch mehr und mehr kommen. Eltern wollen immer öfter beide Zeit mit den Kindern verbringen. Und ältere Kinder müssen und wollen auch immer öfter Zeit für die Pflege ihrer Eltern und/oder Angehörigen aufwenden. Das sind zwei konkrete Gründe, auch für Männer in flexible Arbeitsmodelle zu gehen. Aber braucht es diese konkreten Gründe? „Future of Work“ und „Flexible Work“ gehören für mich zusammen. Und ja: Noch braucht es männliche Rollenmodelle. Solange Männer in Eltern- und/oder Teilzeit gesellschaftlich nicht gleichberechtigt anerkannt sind, brauchen wir Männer auf allen Ebenen, die zeigen, dass es geht, und diese Gleichberechtigung in ihrem Umfeld fördern und fordern.

Anne Kjaer has benefited considerably from digitalization. The native Dane and keynote speaker at 'She Means Business 2019' disclosed how she grew a small start-up into a successful NGO: the ReDi School of Digital Integration in Berlin. Within only three years, the young woman managed to enthuse more than 300 software programmers who predominantly put in volunteer work for ReDi and to this day have trained and qualified more than 900 refugees. In what? In digitalization and programming. So there's only one question left to answer: what is your secret of success? Kjaer answered: "My most important lesson was: Be capable of having yourself helped." Many women still believe they need to be able to do everything. But in real life, it's all about bringing the right people together. Her bottom line: "It's like throwing a stone into a pond and then seeing the massive ripples it makes." A very telling picture, and perfectly fitting the 'She Means Business 2019', because this event is causing massive ripples as well. Kerstin Wünsch: "It's essential that our 'She Means Business' is continued in Frankfurt, that it becomes a regular feature!".“

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Supporting partners: Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, CCH – Congress Center Hamburg, Cvent, Gahrens+Battermann, H-Hotels.com, Leonardo Hotels, Monaco Convention Bureau, Messe Dortmund, Messe Karlsruhe, Slido; Media Partners: Horizont, m+a report, BizTravel