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Men and women are not the same - and that's not a problem



Contribution from Bettina Dürrenberger


Equality means that we all have the same rights as human beings. It does not mean that we are all the same. Regardless of which gender we belong to or whether we can even categorise ourselves as one gender - we are not equal.

But why does it feel like we women are at a disadvantage? Why are there so few female managers in senior management positions? This is a question that concerns companies, many institutes and opinion researchers.


We like you, but we are not like you

Far be it from me to give a definitive answer to this question. What I do know from my own experience, that of my clients, from observations and from my circle of friends is the following: Many women simply need more confidence in themselves and in their strengths. The system as it is today is built on performance, a lot of thinking, strategy and a lot of "fake it till you make it".

And that's probably where a few challenges lie for us women - we simply often tick a little differently. We are often more insecure. Why is that? On the one hand, I'm convinced it's because we've learnt to adapt. But to what? To a business world that is male-centred. Men have moulded the business world to their liking. We like you, but we are not like you... But what are we like? It takes us longer to dare to take on a leadership role because we want to do it "perfectly". We think differently, we motivate ourselves differently.


No sustainable change

And we have too few role models... we know too little about what we can, may and should actually contribute. It's clear - the meritocracy has no future in this form. Resources are, dear people it may come as a surprise, FINITE... they END... but capitalism, today's economy, is structured differently... more and more, biger and biger. People who tick differently, who can no longer keep up, find a place in the second labour market, if at all. And no matter where you look - CHANGE everywhere... and even more CHANGE. I'm not against change, but I am against the fact that it doesn't happen prudently. Not just higher and further, but more sustainable and integrative. Not just on performance, but on health and diversity as an important factor of change. Unfortunately, I am experiencing the exact opposite. Every IT system is pushed through, more efficiency is hardly possible, but it guarantees that some "weaker" employees will no longer be able to keep up. Organisational change is the same...you know the theory, but unfortunately it is often not put into practice. Change for the sake of change... a pity... and another pity. I think the human component is missing here and I assume that we women have a feel for this.


Pressure to perform wherever you look

Children are stressed at school (because of the pressure to perform), mothers and fathers are stressed at work and in the family (because of the pressure to perform), older people are stressed because they are losing their job or no longer see any possibility of changing jobs (because of the pressure to perform). Where is this leading? Something has to change and I am convinced that we women are part of the answer. It is unacceptable that important decisions in politics and in companies are made almost exclusively by men.

And in order for something to change, we can take a first small step in the direction that will take us further. We can explore what we are good at. What we lack in order to be more confident. What our strengths are and how we can live them. So that society rethinks, so that we get more role models and we stop carrying on as we are at the moment - going on and on, more and more and not listening to what is actually screaming so strongly inside us - the desire for connection. To ourselves, to nature and to others. Women, we can be part of this solution... it needs us. Our courage.


How do you lead? Where do you see your strengths? How do you live them? How do you support women and what do you need as a tool for empowerment?

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