hen Greta Thunberg recently entered the stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate, she was enthusiastically acclaimed by the 25,000 predominantly young protesters who had come to Berlin to strike for climate. "When we tell them that we're worried about the future of our civilization, they pat our heads and tell us that everything is alright – no need to worry. But we should worry. We need to panic!" said the schoolgirl. At her side in Germany is Luisa Neubauer, in Belgium it's Anuna De Wever and other activists. With their protest campaign 'Fridays for Future', these young women are shaking the very foundation of the old and established order along with antiquated roles in society.
100 years before Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg was born in Sweden in 2003, Emmeline Pankhurst in England founded the Women’s Social and Political Union and took to the street to protest for women's voting rights. My great-grandmother Anna Helling was the first woman in my family eligible to vote. Even if a lot has been accomplished, there still is a lot to do! Gender equality has not been achieved in any country throughout our world. In its Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take another 108 years until that gap has been comprehensively closed. That is the more remarkable as women have the 'skills of tomorrow' such as social competency required in times of transformation.
Germany's Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier is convinced that 'equal opportunity' is a hot topic in the business world and also a major competitive factor. On the occasion of the International Women's Day 2019, his ministry for the first time sent out invitations for a conference on 'Women in Business', remarkable because it was not sent by the Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Certainly an important signal. At the Ministry of Economics, I immediately got into conversations with women from diverse industries. We quickly found out that we were all facing the same problems such as the glass ceiling, part-time leadership, and new working time models. The event industry is particularly afflicted, as the share of women working here is particularly high. I soon realized that we need to network if we want to achieve diversity and gender equality, and we need to include our male counterparts. We will achieve our objectives only if we interact. The next opportunity is the 'She Means Business' conference on May 20, 2019 at the IMEX. Men and women alike are cordially invited!