Equality in leadership
Caritas in Germany intends to raise the ratio of women on its management boards, in management and supervisory boards. This cannot be achieved by simply increasing the number of child-care places or with additional coaching and mentoring for women. Traditional gender roles and career patterns must also be scrutinized. Five pilot locations were chosen as part of the "Equality in leadership” project in order to see which measures really produce results in achieving this target.
It all depends on the leadership
It has become clear that change is only possible if an organisation’s upper levels of management are willing to recognise and deal with uncomfortable issues. Workshops for decision-makers were identified as a major instrument at the locations in achieving vocational equality between men and women. And that is often a question of corporate culture: do we focus on men when it comes to promotions, because women are more likely to be absent for long periods for family-planning reasons? Which characteristics do good managers possess according to decision-makers? Is the potential of mixed teams of men and women taken into consideration? The project management has published guidelines detailing how looking at these questions may lead to more gender equality within corporate culture.
Since July 2015, the German Caritas organisation has been a member of the "A matter for management” initiative, which is also supported by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The eleven founding organisations, including the international companies Bayer, Siemens, IBM and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, all agree that gender equality cannot be relegated to a niche topic. The aim of the initiative is to achieve a more balanced ratio of men and women in top positions as well as to dismantle traditional role images that affect communication and decision behaviour in the economy and in society, and which prevent women from attaining top positions.