Women matter Image 1


Women matter

The World Economic Forum (WEF) asked seven women to co-chair the theme "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World" – and zero men. This signal from Davos is as strong as much as it is overdue. Diversity and equal treatment of genders is everybody's business.

f you want your company to be successful; if you want your company to operate with wisdom, with care, then women are the best,” said Jack Ma, and he didn't just say it anywhere, he said it at the World Economic Forum
 Annual Meeting 2018. The founder of the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba gave his keynote in Davos on women in business. 37 percent of his senior management is female and thus part of this story of success. Canada's premier minister Justin Trudeau saw "a fundamental shift that is core to this year's Forum, thanks to the leadership of our seven extraordinary Co-Chairs: I’m talking about hiring, promoting, and retaining more women."

These "seven extraordinary Co-Chairs" are women
, one of them is Christine Lagarde. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) explained: "The Forum works throughout the year to highlight the gender gap and develop strategies to help women achieve positions of senior leadership." IMF research has uncovered myriad other macroeconomic benefits: reducing gender gaps in employment, as well as in education, can help economies diversify their exports; appointing more women onto banking supervision boards can challenge cozy group-think, thereby supporting greater bank stability and financial sector resilience; and tackling gender inequality can reduce income inequality, which, in turn, can drive more sustainable growth. Lagarde: "In other words, across several dimensions, we must realize that women’s potential is 'macrocritical'."

And that's quite obvious to Dr. Mara Harvey. The Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy, created UBS Unique, a change program at UBS Wealth Management to strengthen female financial confidence.

In Davos, UBS Unique and The Female Quotient (TFQ) conducted three sessions on equality. Founded by Shelley Zalis, TFQ aims to advance gender equality in the workplace. Her Equality Lounges and Girl’s Lounges provide a place to connect, to emphasize collaboration and mentorship at international congresses and expos such as WEF in Davos, CES in Las Vegas, Cannes Lions in Cannes or dmexco in Cologne.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 published annually by the World Economic Forum since 2006 illustrates the need to act: gender parity, globally, is shifting into reverse this year for the first time. It will take 217 years to achieve full gender equality around the world – a year ago it was 170 years. Klaus Schwab, WEF-Founder and Executive Chairman commented: "As the world moves from capitalism into the era of talentism, competitiveness on a national and on a business level will be decided more than ever before by the innovative capacity of a country or a company. In this new context, the integration of women into the talent pool becomes a must."

Women matter Image 2
Finally a real panel, not a manel, remarked Christine Lagarde discussing „Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World“ with the seven Co-Chairs..

Karin Nordmeyer, Chairwoman of UN Women Germany, agrees entirely. "Women’s empowerment makes a difference" is the title of her presentation at the first "She Means Business" conference at the IMEX 2018. Nordmeyer bases her argument on McKinsey figures: in a "full potential" scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

In keeping with that approach, UN Women launched the campaign "Equality Means Business", flanked by the "Women’s Empowerment Principles". They encompass seven fundamentals on strengthening women in businesses including "Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality". 1,792 CEOs across the globe have committed themselves to the campaign.

"The initiative provides ideal leverage points for all industries, as it aims at changing structures and effect mechanisms," said Nordmeyer. "The challenge will be to transfer this approach to individual branches such as the meeting industry, to change structures and to develop models enabling women to fully exploit their potentials and strengths." This all starts with communication. Nordmeyer: "Boardroom language is extremely masculine – we need to change that. Men must realize that women use other means to realize their objectives, visions and ideas." In the course of globalization and digitalization, she anticipates new management and work models. "There is an ever-increasing range of options for gainful occupation not bound to specific time and location. That's a great chance for women, who are adversely affected by structural deficits affiliated to the difficult compatibility of gainful occupation on one side and unpaid care work on the other!"


Karin Nordmeyer, UN Women: The initiative provides leverage points for all industries.PHOTO: UN WOMEN
Karin Nordmeyer, UN Women: The initiative provides leverage points for all industries.
1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
4. Promote education, training and professional development for women
5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

Take Germany as an example: according to the Federal Statistics Office, the 42 million female Germans make up 51 percent of the population, 46.5 percent of all gainfully employed persons, more than half of all high-school graduates, approximately 50 percent of college graduates and 44 percent of all PhDs. Nevertheless, it's the men who advance to senior management and the women who are paid less. Aserious deficit, which was discussed last year at the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy by 300 female entrepreneurs, decision-makers, startuppers and college students with the former Federal Minister for Economics Brigitte Zypries. The interaction led to adoption of the manifest "Strong women, strong economy", which is aimed at highlighting the achievements and capacities of women. Demographic change makes the entire issue even more urgent: the population of working age is declining – not only in Germany.

In the battle for talents, the European Union had a close look at the gender pay gap, which is such that women in the 28 member countries are paid an average of 16.3 percent less for identical work than their male counterparts. 
The Equal Pay Day
 exemplified that: up to that day, female employees virtually work for free if they want to be at par in terms of annual salary with their male counterparts at the end of the year. In Germany, this day is March 18, and this prompted the German association of female entrepreneurs (VdU) to post a tweet in the associations forum: "Female entrepreneurs on Equal Pay Day: don't decrease efforts aimed at promoting more women to senior management positions, better compatibility of career and family and gainful occupation [dlvr.it/QLFJhv]". President Stephanie Bschorr emphasized: "We are familiar with the most effective adjustment means to close the pay gap: we need more women in senior management positions and fewer women in lowpaid jobs, better compatibility of career and family and easier access to care programs, more tax-related employment incentives and better overcoming traditional distribution of roles."

Women matter Image 6
Dr. Mara Harvey

The conference "Women in management" hosted on January 24, 2018 at the University of Osnabrück by the equal-opportunity office at the university and municipal authorities gave attendees an opportunity to align vision and reality – and to boost morale as well. In his presentation on the status of, the opportunities for and the challenges on women in management positions in the corporate world, Dr. Carsten Wippermann from the University of Applied Sciences KSH München described three mentality patterns found among male senior executives: 1. conservative exclusion: cultural and functional rejection of women based on gender. ("This company is conservative to the core and will not tolerate any women on the management board. Period. That's just the way it is.") 2. Emancipated attitude – but without a chance against male rites of power. ("In this world focused on success, it's all about 'Squeeze your guys for the last drop of blood!', and all this talk, which is entirely out of place for women.") 3. Radical individualism: gender doesn't matter – but the market isn't abounding with authentic and flexible women.

For Prof. Dr. Nicole Böhmer, who teaches at the University of Osnabrück faculty of business management and social sciences and is the university's senior equal-opportunity officer, these conferences are important. She's in stride with the Norwegian author and journalist Grethe Nestor: "The greatest risk to equality is the myth that we've already achieved it." Said Böhmer: "That's exactly why I think it's important to consistently increase awareness for issues where equality has not yet been achieved – and that includes leadership." Her colleague Prof. Dr. Kim Werner, who teaches business management with a focus on event management & business events, agrees: "The 'glass ceiling' is very dominant in the event industry – as in many other sectors as well: a very large share of students enrolled in event management study programs at German universities is female. If you look at the senior management level in our industry, it's exactly the opposite." As professor for event management, she considers it her duty and obligation to support young women in furthering their career. It's important to her to engage in constructive and fact-based discussion, but there are only very few science-based studies and credible findings available for the event industry. Werner: “There is need for much more research here.“


Thorben Grosser: Die offensichtlichsten Fragen stecken in den Themen Glass Ceiling und Gender Pay Gap.PHOTO: EVENTMOBI
Thorben Grosser: Die offensichtlichsten Fragen stecken in den Themen Glass Ceiling und Gender Pay Gap.
In your series #Praxisfrühstück in spring of this year, you picked up on the subject of women in the events industry. What was your motivation?
This issue has been with me for quite some time. I studied event management and was one of only three men in a class with 40 women. The majority of customers are also women, but if you have a look at awarding ceremonies, you will usually find only men. How can this be? When I saw that the initiators of She Means Business were addressing this issue, I knew I just had to support their efforts.

What was the response to this drive?
The response was irritating – the issue was frequently perceived as "new" by our predominantly female participants. That is to say that many are aware that equality is still far off, but not how very far away it still is. Male participants were prone to question the validity of the different studies: "Were the surveys properly interpreted?", "Where is this data from?", "I don't believe it's that simple!" were some typical responses.

Which two aspects were particularly discussed by the participants?
I think the most obvious questions and the most extreme differences are found in the Gender Pay Gap and the Glass Ceiling. What was really interesting is that sexism in the world of work, which is definitely a problem in this industry, wasn't any major issue. The focus here was less on social interaction as really much more on career issues and options.  KERSTIN WÜNSCH


Gillian Tans, the CEO of Booking.com, in doing exactly that research commissioned a survey to establish findings on gender discrimination in the technology industry. "Almost 90 percent of female questionees stated that more women in management positions would inspire them to pursue a career in the tech sector," said Tans. She called to life the Technology Playmaker Awards in time for the International Women's Day 2018. Tans: "These Technology Playmaker Awards laud diversity and gender equality with the purpose and intent to encourage and inspire more women to make use of career prospects in the tech industry irrespective of their backgrounds."

Women in tech businesses has long been an issue for Thorben Grosser. The General Manager Europe for Eventmobi explains: "We have 67 percent women on our team – and that isn't so because I'm particularly keen on hiring women, it's simply that they came out best in the application interviews." In his series #Praxisfrühstück in spring of this year, he picked up on the subject of women in the events industry. The response "irritated" him. While female participants were astonished by the status of equal gender treatment, the male participants challenged the studies and surveys on this subject – even though these frequently were provided and furnished by men and viewed the matter from their perspectives.

This is something the Global Female Leaders Summit and KPMG want to change. Their „Global Female Leaders Outlook“ is based on the issues outlined in the KPMG International Global CEO Outlook to directly compare male and female perspectives on economic, business, technological and leadership issues. Sigrid Bauschert, CEO Management Circle AG, is the initiator and host of Global Female Leaders;

they were just as delighted with the fact that all seven co-chairs at the World Economic Summit in Davos were female as they were with the increase in female delegate participation to 21 percent – a record in the summit meeting's 48-year history. That share was at only eleven percent when Bauschert came up with the idea for a Davos for Women. Her fifth Global Female Leaders Summit from June 3 to 5, June 2018 at the Hotel Adlon Berlin is, however, not focused on women, instead the female participants will concern themselves with "The Values of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence".  KERSTIN WÜNSCH

„Die Welt bewegt sich vom Kapitalismus in die Ära des ‚Talentismus‘.“
Klaus Schwab, Gründer und Vorstandsvorsitzender des World Economic Forums (WEF)
“I am speaking at the first ‘She Means Business’ conference, because we cannot build strong economies without the full participation and potential of women.”
Karin Nordmeyer,
President of UN Women National Committee Germany
“I am speaking at the first ‘She Means Business’ conference, because we need to raise awareness for every woman out there, especially for every young woman starting her career, how important it is to know what impact a pay gap can have on her wealth creation.”
Dr. Mara Harvey,
Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy, UBS