11 Oct 2023

"Women need to be bolder and louder!"

Interview with Julia Münster, Chief Human Resources Officer at diva-e

Can you give us an overview of how high the proportion of women in leadership positions at diva-e currently is?

At diva-e, around 37 percent of lead positions are currently held by women. Compared to the current state of our industry, that's already a good starting position. But despite this, or perhaps because of it, we want to focus more on the issue of diverse leadership. We have set ourselves target figures for this: By the end of 2024, our goal is for 40 percent of diva-e's management positions to be held by women. In our management team, we currently have 13 percent and are aiming for 20 percent!

What specific measures are in place to promote female managers?


We are focusing on various initiatives here. It starts with recruiting: On our agenda for 2024, AI-generated job postings are a focus topic. What does this have to do with diversity? It means that specific skills and preferences of candidates can be better addressed and analyzed - regardless of gender. The goal of this initiative is to attract more female applicants or candidates to relevant positions. The way we address applicants is also crucial - depending on the wording, women are more likely to respond to advertisements - especially when it comes to management positions.

Of course, we don't just invest in new employees, but also offer the workforce within the company opportunities for personal and professional development. These include working groups and workshops, as well as participation in events. Most recently, all female managers had the opportunity to take part in the Women's Leadership Conference, which many colleagues took advantage of and returned with many interesting insights.

Can you share the key insights with us?

The most important insights we took away: Women need to be bolder and louder, trust in their abilities and build a network - and we want that to be lived at diva-e and for everyone to be able to contribute. Mentors play a crucial role in this - women who have asserted themselves and reached a leadership position. We at diva-e consider contact with successful women in leadership positions and their advice to be very important. We support various initiatives here, such as Girl's Day and Steamdive. The Steamdive project focuses mainly on promoting diversity in science, technology, engineering, art and math education. Through practical and theoretical workshops, young talents of school age are encouraged and confirmed in their different skills.

What challenges do you see in promoting a diverse leadership culture?


The biggest challenge for many companies is to break down existing structures, some of which have grown traditionally. This is not just a corporate issue, but a social issue. Equality can only be put into practice when the conditions change. This starts in companies, for example, with a women's quota. Yes, this may be a controversial topic, but we are of the opinion that equality can only really be lived once this quota has been met.

But this alone does not make a change - the culture must become more family-friendly and allow women to combine family and career. A mother can also be a successful manager if the framework conditions are right: This can be flexible working hours, part-time models or longer sabbaticals.

What do these framework conditions look like at diva-e?

We are very happy about the flexibility and openness that we live diva-e - also when it comes to family planning and work-life balance. An important lever here is the management's attitude to this issue. diva-e offers the greatest possible flexibility in terms of working hours, thus promoting family planning as well as career paths and the work-life balance of employees.

We have several mothers in management positions who have returned after their pregnancy. In our experience, this has worked very well. Of course, the prerequisite for this is not only the attitude of the management, but above all the flexibility of the respective team. And let's put it this way: We've already had nice and efficient meetings with breast pumps.

Why is diversity so important in the corporate world?

Diversity in companies is important because it not only reflects ethical principles, but also promotes diverse perspectives and ways of thinking that can increase innovative strength.
An important point here is that inclusion is promoted not only in the workforce, but also in management positions and in the corporate culture itself. Our management is very committed here and open to individual and needs-oriented working models.
We want diva-e to be a safe space for all employees - regardless of gender, origin or religion.

How diverse is diva-e today?


Diversity is of course not limited to the gender issue, but encompasses very many other aspects. We work every day to make our culture as inclusive as possible. Nationality and cultural diversity play a huge role in this. We have many international colleagues and support them, for example, by providing access to language learning platforms.
Communication is a big part of inclusion. That's why we're planning more initiatives here to reach and support all our colleagues. We want to be ahead of the average and do our part to ensure that not only companies rethink, but the general mindset becomes more open to the topic of diversity. That's certainly a long way to go, and we have a lot to learn along the way. But we look forward to every single step toward equality.