Telekom wants women in management

By 16. März 2010 No Comments

What a heavy wind today in Europe, just because the Telekom comes forward and announces that they are going to have the quota for women!
And they placed an advertisement in the papers saying all in magenta:

We are courageous. The Deutsche Telekom gets more female. With Quota.
Most other managers and CEO’s in Germany got a heart attack at their breakfast, a lot of comments are in the air that this is crazy, only the best should get the job etc. … we know this for years now. The Telekom acts.

The Fidar-Initiative in Berlin gave the forum for the Telekom to come out with the news. Fidar is a non-profit-organisation in Germany promoting the Quota for Board members (Women on Board = Frauen in die Aufsichtsräte FIDAR) Here is the press relaease from FIDAR with one English article page 16 from Finland (see further down)

Get some background:

BERLIN (AP) – Deutsche Telekom AG says it is introducing a quota for women in management. It aims to have women fill 30 percent of upper and middle management positions by the end of 2015. Chief executive Rene Obermann said Monday that increasing the number of women in management „is a matter of social fairness and a categorical necessity for our success.“ The company said 13 percent of its management positions were occupied by women in 2008. It said it would be the first on Germany’s DAX index of blue-chip stocks to introduce a quota. Deutsche Telekom, based in Bonn, said it would use recruitment policies, executive development programs and other tools to reach the target.

This press release was printed all over the world: in the international press: Turkey, South Africa, New York, India – see below

„After all, the old practise of having all male boards can be interpreted to be a hidden male quota system“ said Leena Linnainmaa, Director Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland, who does not favor the quota for Finland in her speech. In FIDAR Press kit

She gave us some insight in the change of Finland: „The dramatic change in board compositions in Finland has its background in changing attitude towards women executives. There are many reasons for the change, but one catalyst may have been the study Female Leadership and Firm Profitability published by the Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA in September 2007. According to the study, firms led by women are from slightly over 10 to well over 20 per cent more profitable than businesses led by men. This study is an analysis of 14,020 Finnish companies, probably the largest study on this subject in the world. After the study was published by the nationally well-known and respected EVA, it has become difficult to state that women are not successful business leaders. Even already before the results of the EVA study was published, the most important businessman in Finland, Mr Jorma Ollila, Chairman of both Nokia and Shell, and also of EVA, stated publicly that we need more women directors and that resources are wasted if women are not chosen to the top decision-making positions. Now it is very difficult for other businessmen to belittle the issue at least in public.“

Also it is evident that Media attention is crucial in achieving new attitudes. Whilst typical “women’s magazines” are often rather conservative and ignore this issue, financial newspapers and magazines are somewhat less conservative with some of them systematically highlighting the importance of having women directors.

If you follow some bloggs – it is a cry out of men who feel beaten. Most of the commentss are negative, polemic and show a feeling of survival attitude, but also within the female community. They complain about the quota but it might be the change in roles and that will be an issue of every person: What makes a women, what makes a man? The study of Sinus gave some insights in this soft issues: Board members think that women in TOP management cannot be authentic, because they behave like men. This is the reason why they should not be there – this is what we know as glass ceiling. The big question is, why is there no leadership role model without gender association? Why is a humanistic vision of respect and creativity not in the air? Its is too feminine?

More about the Telekom step
The international Press : Hurriyet Daily NewsNew York Times,

Political pressure has grown on companies across Europe to increase women’s representation among their leadership ranks and to address persistent gender gaps in areas like pay and professional opportunity. “Taking on more women in management positions is not about the enforcement of misconstrued egalitarianism,” the company’s chief executive, René Obermann, said in a statement. “Having a greater number of women at the top will quite simply enable us to operate better.”

Arizone Daily Star :
„A glass ceiling is, however, clearly still stopping too many talented females from making it to the top,“ personnel chief Thomas Sattelberger said in a statement. „Introducing the women’s quota will enable us to break through this ceiling.“

Times of India
„Having a greater number of women at the top will quite simply enable us to operate better,“ DT CEO Rene Obermann said. DT hopes that its decision would add value to the telecom firm in the long term with greater diversity at management level.

Business Week

But also in company Diversity news like Henkel

Definetely the Deutsche Telekom is couragous! Congratulations.
It is difficult to change a culture. It is not easy to get new attitudes.


Margot Wallström Vice-President of the European Commission Reaching parity: a moment of truth for European Democracy Robert Schuman Foundation Conference, „Women in Europe: reaching parity“ Brussels, 19 November 2009

Die Deutsche Telekom möchte mehr Frauen im Management haben.
Pressemeldung und Studien, Informationen zu Diversity

Studien beweisen: Frauen bewirken etwas!
Ein hoher Frauenanteil in Führungspositionen bringt ökonomische Vorteile für Unternehmen. Das belegen seit Jahren immer wieder internationale Studien – die auch weitere Pluspunkte aufzeigen. (Siehe Veröffentlichungen)

Längerer Blog-Eintrag hier nur in englischer Sprache.

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