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"Start networking!"

100 years of female suffrage, 100 years of fighting for gender equality in the work world. A lot has been accomplished, but a lot still needs to be done. The event industry is no exception, but things are beginning to happen.

In professional life, inequality between men and women is particularly widespread. In Germany, for example, only 71 percent of all women capable of gainful employment are actually working, but 46 percent of these in part-time jobs. For men, the labor force participation rate is at 82 percent, with only eleven percent in part-time employment. It also appears to be set in stone that women earn less than men.
The unadjusted global Gender Pay Gap (average salary across the entire workforce irrespective of qualification, occupation, et cetera) in 2019 is still at 37 percent;
in Germany at 21 percent, in Great Britain at 30 percent.

The higher up the career ladder, the wider the gender gap. In Germany, only 26 percent of senior management appointments are female. In Latvia, 46 percent of all senior positions are held by women, in Luxembourg only 19 percent. Of 160 quoted businesses in Germany, 110 have not a single woman sitting on the executive board. There is still lots of room for improvement in all industries and at all levels. And that is true all over the world.

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A good 100 years ago, Emmeline Pankhurst (middle) and her fellow campaigner took to the streets in London for the women's suffrage.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in her book 'Lean in' published in 2013 emphasized that women need to forcefully assert their rights. In a recent interview with Handelsblatt , she pointed out that it's not only appropriate but also intelligent to fight for and establish equal status, as it is obvious that diversely staffed teams are more successful. However, that's only one of many aspects in favor of more diversity. Another one, far more significant, is the stupendous loss suffered by global economy due to the gender pay gap, according to the World Bank.

"The global economy is losing $160 trillion in wealth because of gender inequality," said Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO. She pointed out that countries on average are losing 14 percent of their economic output merely due to gender inequality. Emmeline Pankhurst in London would most certainly have been very grateful for such striking arguments in favor of gender equality.
And in our times, the tough Briton would most certainly have enjoyed being invited to speak at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
This organization in 2018 defined the advancement of women to be one of the four mega-trends for the future of work. Paolo Gallo, senior advisor to the WEF, is convinced that the future is female, because "women tend to possess the human characteristics that will give them the advantage in the new jobs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution". At the same time, the World Economic Forum has determined that numerous countries, among these Germany, have been making almost no more progress in terms of equality. WEF-Founder Klaus Schwab warned: "More than ever, societies cannot afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity."


Dr. Steffi Burkhart: Der Female-Shift ist längst ein Megatrend.PHOTO: DR. STEFFI BURKHART
Dr. Steffi Burkhart: Der Female-Shift ist längst ein Megatrend.
Warum „datenbasiertes Verhaltensdesign“ immer wichtiger wird, erklärt Dr. Steffi Burkhart, Human Capital Evangelist und Keynote Speakerin auf dem International Festival of Brand Experience 2019.

tw: Frauenförderung braucht auch starke Frauen, die sich für ihre Rechte einsetzen. Kämpfen junge und ältere Frauen eigentlich für das Gleiche?
Dr. Steffi Burkhart: Wir als junge Generation stehen in der Verantwortung, die Diskussionen und Forderungen weiterzuführen, die in den Generationen zuvor begonnen wurden.

Wie gut schätzen Sie die Karrierechancen für Frauen der Gen Y (heute 20 bis 40-Jährige) und Gen Z (heute 6 bis 20-Jährige) ein?
Der Female-Shift ist längst ein Megatrend und ich bin fest davon überzeugt, dass die Karrierechancen für Frauen der Gen Y und Gen Z in den nächsten 20 Jahren gut sind. Dabei ist es für junge Frauen jedoch auch wichtig, dass sie gut supportet werden. Vor ein paar Wochen hat mir die HR-Abteilung eines international agierenden deutschen Konzerns in einem Briefing-Gespräch mitgeteilt: „Wenn wir es nicht schaffen, mehr Frauen in Führungspositionen zu befördern, bekommen wir von unserem CEO eine Frauenquote aufgedrückt.“ Ich finde, eine starke Ansage der Konzernspitze. Meine persönliche Meinung ist: Wir werden künftig noch eine viel höhere Aussteigerquote talentierter Frauen erleben. Denn wir Millennials sind eine eher illoyale und ungeduldige Generation. Und wenn wir das Bedürfnis haben, woanders ein besseres Arbeitsumfeld zu finden, um uns besser entwickeln oder mehr Wirkkraft entfalten zu können, dann sind wir ganz schnell weg. Eine Realität, der sich Unternehmen im „War-for-Talents- Zeitalter“ stellen sollten.

Sie plädieren für „datenbasiertes Verhaltensdesign“, um Frauen gezielt zu fördern und zu rekrutieren. Was meinen Sie damit?
Die Schweizer Verhaltensökonomin Iris Bohnet bringt es auf den Punkt: „Nicht die Frauen müssen sich ändern, sondern die Spielregeln.“ Es geht nicht darum, Frauen im Denken und Handeln an die Männer-Monokulturen anzupassen, sondern die Umstände, durch die Verhaltensweisen entstehen und Entscheidungen getroffen werden. Einige Unternehmen haben dies bereits verstanden und Spielregeln verändert. Wichtige Werkzeuge dabei sind: Blindverfahren, Datenanalyse in Echtzeit und andere digitale Entscheidungshilfen, die die Dominanz der Intuition abmildern und zu bewussteren Entscheidungen führen. Gutes Verhaltensdesign beginnt mit analysierten Daten. Daher mein Appell an Unternehmen: Schaffen Sie Experimentierraum für Verhaltensdesigner, um die richtigen Signale zu finden und bessere Entscheidungen anzustoßen.

This was also the conclusion drawn by the delegates at the G20 summit in Hamburg one year before, where the international Business Women Leaders Task Force (BWLTF) was set up. The German Federal Chancellery appointed Dr. Martina Niemann, Vice President Lufthansa HR Management, to Germany's representative on that team. That has made Niemann a high-profile speaker, for example at the 'She Means Business' conference on May 20 in Frankfurt in context with the IMEX 2019. In her presentation 'Getting to equal is not a women-only subject', Niemann gives her thoughts on women's roles and share in business life and the Lufthansa Group's commitment to more diversity, equal opportunity and the advancement of women.

But how do things look in the event industry? Here, too, there is a considerable gap between men and women. Around 80 percent of staffers in this domain are female, but the senior executive level has an only 20-percent share of women. According to the survey 'Women in the event industry' conducted jointly by tw tagungswirtschaft, m+a report and the IMEX Group at the International Women's Day 2017, only three out of ten women feel they're being treated equally when it comes to salary. Only four of ten are convinced their career perspectives are identical to those of their male counterparts, but almost 49 percent are against imposing any gender quota. Natascha Hoffner, CEO Messe Rocks and organizer of herCareer, an important annual show in Munich for female career planning, is an avid advocate for women's rights. She said: "If we really want to be serious about equal treatment, we certainly need to act. I'm entirely in line with the sociologist Jutta Allmendinger, who argues that in order to enforce equal opportunity policies, we must rid ourselves of the notion that senior management positions necessarily entail full-timing plus extra hours, because shared leadership works, it is efficient and might also improve staff performance." Moreover, salaries in male and female domains must be adjusted, marital status tax reliefs abolished, compensated and uncompensated work provided by men and women should be balanced and more and better options for childcare provided. In a nutshell: the business world, politicians and society as a whole are called upon to finally provide the conditions and parameters for ensuring genuine equal treatment in the work world.
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“I am speaking at the ‘She Means Business’ conference, because intentions are not enough. We need laws to support equality between women and men. Despite the progress of parity, misogyny still exists and the fight for women’s rights must continue.”
Catherine Trautmann, Vice-Présidente, Eurometropole de Strasbourg, French politician, member of the European Parliament 1989–1997 and 2004–2014 and the first female mayor of Strasbourg in 1989, re-elected in 1995.

Yes and no, said Ilona Jarabek, because women also need to change their mindsets and behavior. Jarabek made her career in the event industry, as did Hoffner. She's been GM of the Musik- und Kongresshalle Lübeck since 2007 and was elected 2018 first female president of the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) in this organization's 60-year history. "Unfortunately, we women are frequently tied down by antiquated thinking patterns, many of us simply believe they haven't got what it takes to fill a leadership position." Her advice: "Just do your thing and then call in what you need. I've always done well with this approach."

An essential instrument for professional advancement of women is networking. Soloists rarely make it to where they're headed. In the business world, there are numerous examples for successful female alliances. One of the better- known such professional sororities is the Merton-Kreis founded in 2015. Cofounder Tina Müller, then Chief Marketing Officer Opel and since late 2017 CEO of Douglas, gave this comment on the Merton-Kreis: "Women in leadership positions are finally doing what our male counterparts have been doing for centuries: we're networking." And they're supporting each other in pursuing careers. Said herCareer mastermind Hoffner: "If women want to make it all the way to the top, they must accept that they to some extent will have to play by male rules." However, as soon as they've made it to the summit, they ought to throw a rope to other women on the climb.

Be it networking, expos, industry events or congresses – only those interacting with others will be able to learn. Only those appearing in public will be seen. This is also a platform women are increasingly appreciating as career driver. Gone are the times when it was difficult to find female speakers. Hoffner: "I'm pretty familiar with that particular line of arguments. Event organizers will frequently point out that they'd like to feature a female keynote, but they can't find a woman taking to the stage on this or that topic. I can tell those organizers that our herCareer is capable of contracting more than 400 female role models, insiders and experts per edition of the show." EVVC President Jarabek is also convinced that networking is essential. "I've learned so much from other women. It's important to support each other." Her advice: "Educate yourself well. Engage in networking. Hold your head high." Emmeline Pankhurst couldn't have said it any better.
The unadjusted global Gender Pay Gap in 2019 is at 37 percent.


1791: The Frenchwoman Olympe de Gouges writes the "Declaration of the rights of women and citizens".

1893: New Zealand is the first self-governing colony to introduce universal women's suffrage.

1903: Emmeline Pankhurst founds in Manchester the Women's Social and Political Union (later also called "the Suffragettes"), a radical bourgeois women's movement that demands, among other things, "Votes for women".

1907: First international socialist women's congress in Stuttgart. Socialist women around Clara Zetkin demand universal women's suffrage for Germany.

1913: 3,900 female students, or 4.3% of all students, study at all universities in Germany.

1914: New date set for International Women's Day: 8 March.

1918: Voting rights for women decided in Germany.

1948: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes principle of non-discrimination based on sex.

1949: Formal equality of men and women in Germany. Article 3 of the Basic Law reads: "Men and women are equal".

1975: First World Women's Conference in Mexico City

1977: The "housewife marriage" in Germany is abolished. Women are allowed to work without the husband's permission.

1979: United Nations General Assembly in New York adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

1980: The law "equal pay for all" is passed in the FRG.

2005: Angela Merkel becomes first Chancellor in Germany.

2015: Women's quota for Dax companies decided. From 2016, the 30 listed companies in Germany will have a women's quota of 30% for supervisory board members.

2017: In Latvia 46% of women work in management positions, in the European Union the average is 34%, in Germany 29% and in Luxembourg 19%. • 2017: 71% of women of working age work in Germany, 46% of them part-time.

2018: 13% of board members in Dax 30 companies are women. In 110 out of 160 German stock exchange companies, no woman is a member of the executive board.

2019: Proportion of women in the German Bundestag drops to 31%.

2019: The gender pay gap worldwide is 37% lower for women than for men. In the USA the gender pay gap is 18%, in Yemen 70%, in the EU on average 16%, in Great Britain 30%, in Germany 21%, in Sweden 13% and in Romania 5%.