Editorial

Women mean business

G
erman Minister Horst Seehofer just recently proudly presented the senior staff of his new Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. To his right on the group portrait: four men in suit and tie. To his left: four men in suit and tie. And yes, it certainly does make a difference. His ministry – of all things – is supposed to assure that senior positions in public services will have been equally filled by men and women by 2025. As public-law institutions, exhibition and congress centers are designated to serve as role models. They are monitored by supervisory boards, with lord mayors often appointed to chairpersons. At Messe Frankfurt's supervisory board meetings, Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann looks at 20 faces, 17 of these male, and three female.

My expo sister Christiane Appel and I took a closer look, and here's what we saw: the exhibition and congress industry is female, its upper echelon is male. At the 16 mid and large-sized expo companies, only four women have made it to the top: Katharina Hamma in Cologne, Monika Dech in Munich, Britta Wirtz in Karlsruhe and Sabine Loos in Dortmund. Of all congress centers, one of four is under female leadership: for example Andrea Bisping in Munich, Anja Stas in Antwerp. She said: "Boardrooms to this day are ruled by male standards. Women have a (limited) access as long as we behave as a man." And she's not the only one to be annoyed: women want to import their female qualities and insist on fair treatment. And there's another real problem area: women are paid 16.3 percent less salary than men in the European Union.

Our international survey "Women in the events industry"
  confirms that precisely: every second woman feels unfairly treated as compared to male counterparts when it comes to salaries and career options. I wonder: how will the expo and congress industry be an attractive employer and win the best female heads in the struggle for talents? Why don't we all – men and women – join forces with the IMEX Group and us to find answers at 
the first 'She Means Business' conference
 on May 14, 2018 at the Messe Frankfurt's Kap Europa. "We are launching 'She Means Business', because we believe that the sharing of experiences and opinions is the most powerful way for women to talk to each other and to men, to encourage working together to achieve diversity and gender equality," said Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group. Perhaps we should invite Peter Feldmann and his supervisory board?
Women mean business Image 1
KERSTIN WÜNSCH
Editor-in-chief
tw tagungswirtschaft
wuensch@tw-media.com

PHOTO: DFV MEDIENGRUPPE
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