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Women and careers: Tips from the head of state Google managers & national football coach

The proportion of women in management positions is being discussed again and again. How can women assert themselves better? And where must Company start? Tips from an ex-head of state, the football team coach and a Google manager.

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Women and Career: What the ex-head of state advises

In Germany, the discussions about topics such as women's quota, parental and care allowance keep beating the waves. It seems unimaginable for many that successful career women can also be successful mothers. A former head of state, two top managers and a businesswoman tell.

Icelandic head of state Vigdis Finnbogadóttir was democratically elected as the world's first woman in 1980 - and was a single mother. Your simple solution to the compatibility dilemma: seek help. And she says: "Women have to be more confident!" Because, according to Finnbogadóttir, women often fear for lack of self-confidence that seeking help is interpreted as a weakness. Or they are afraid to transfer tasks to others who will not do the job just as well. Or vice versa: you want to show that you can't do without them. At the same time, many women associate power negatively.

Women often lack self-confidence

Football coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg sees the biggest obstacle for many women in her lack of self-confidence: "If a player spoils a pass three times, then I have a lot of work to do to motivate her again. Men just keep on doing it. "As 12-year-old Voss-Tecklenburg discovered her passion for football at the beginning of the 1980-years, later she played as a national player 125 internationals, 1995 became with the German team second and four times European Champion. Therefore, she knows the situation to prevail, even in a male domain. For after her active time, she was almost 20 years as a football coach, including men's teams.

"I remember coach education, in which as a young woman I should teach older, seasoned coaches something. You do not stand a chance without it, "says the footballer, who last shone as coach of the Swiss national team, who under her leadership qualified for the Women's World Cup (2015) for the first time in her history. In November 2018 she was obliged by the DFB as national coach for the German women's national football team.

Create freedom and respect

Krystel Blondeau also confirms that it is important to earn respect. As General Manager of Logis, Europe's largest hotel cooperation, she is not only responsible for 2600 hotels, but also takes care of six children at home. Her secret of success: "I always gave my all because I enjoyed my job," she explains. "This has given me respect and the freedom to make decisions." At the same time, their children are integrated into the daily routine as a matter of course - this can also be seen in the fact that Blondeau communicates with her children constantly, even at work: “I don't want to spend a day without my children, but it is also important that they grow up For example, we were with peers in kindergarten, ”she says.

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Creating freedom is also the secret of success for Fionnuala Meehan, Sales Director at Google Ireland. Every day is after 8 hours at 16 p.m. or 17 p.m. at the latest: Dinner with her husband and three children is part of her regular daily rituals. She seldom takes work home with her, at most she still does phone calls from home. And she rarely sleeps less than seven hours a night. Her recipe: She set priorities and made her decision. “My colleagues accept that because I communicate it to them just as clearly. Because only when I switch off can I fully concentrate on work in the office, ”says Meehan.

Creating women-friendly structures in companies

The South Tyrolean entrepreneur Elisabeth Tocca has set up her own business in Bolzano in order to create precisely this freedom: Bozener has worked for South Tyrolean companies such as Dr. Schär or Salewa in marketing, at the beginning of this year she got out to do her own thing with her own company called CORA happywear, namely eco-fashion for children. "I really liked my job," she says. "But then there was a desire to do something that was all mine." The clothing is to be sold as social selling by women to other women in an informal setting.

The entrepreneur also wants to enable other mothers to become self-employed. "If you give women freedom and flexibility, a lot can be done," says Tocca, who likes to use her own freedom to gather inspiration for the day before sunrise on the mountain. She was encouraged by her husband, brother and friends. In general, her stable local network is very important for the founder: "My environment gives me the strength and warmth to go into battle every day with energy," she says.

Concrete measures to promote women

This shows that companies can actually do something to support female employees. Studies make it clear that mixed teams are more motivated, more creative and perform better and have a better understanding, for example, of customer needs. Promoting women should therefore be a priority for many companies and, in many cases, appropriate action catalogs can be found.

The fact that it often stays with mere lip service, is due to the fact that women often fail when looking for a job and on concrete problems that just can not be ironed out quickly with measures: stereotypes or the Unconscious bias, unconscious bias, that them a certain task is not expected or one's own modesty, which prevents the woman from pointing out her successes. But also to structural difficulties such as family-unfriendly working hours or simply the wrong field of study, eg because women are still underrepresented in STEM subjects.

Mentoring or parent-child offices: what measures really help women?

This is precisely why the approach of the IT service provider adesso from Dortmund in Dortmund is so interesting: The company, which has focused its consulting and individual software development on the core business processes of companies and public administrations, has so far had a proportion of women among 16 percent among its software engineers and IT specialists. Consultants, but wants to increase this continuously.

The planned measures range from school sponsorships and direct target group communication at universities and at trade fairs to corporate tours for female students, in-house mentoring programs and women's networks to family-friendly individual measures. These include, among other things, the offer of parent-child offices at the adesso locations, the entitlement to "regional part-time" including the discontinuation of travel and the extended child sickness allowance. On the other hand, quota regulations are not effective, adesso founder and supervisory board member Prof. Dr. Volker Gruhn. Perhaps also that the reason why the proportion of women in the board of adesso so far is manageable.

Conclusion: Success is only reflected in retrospect

Above all, I find the “regional part-time” remarkable, since IT consultants usually have to be very mobile and willing to travel, which conflicts with family planning - and the company accepts economic losses here. In addition, adesso also offers internal further training for career changers, but with its intiative abet addresses all computer scientists or tries to get young women excited about it.

As these examples show, there are very successful women's careers, but in many cases still tolerate some support. After all, even companies like adesso will have to be judged by how successful they were at implementing their projects.

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2 responses to "Women and careers: Tips from the head of state Google managers & national football coach"

  1. Liz Visker says:

    Loyalty to the employer is unfortunately no longer worth anything today: I can only be annoyed that I did not accept a rather lucrative job offer for loyal reasons to my company - now I am to be fired.

  2. Freddie K. says:

    Really a fabulous contribution!

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