Thorough debate around International Women's Day

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"We have great women in managerial positions in the Group but not enough of them in senior management", RWE CEO Dr. Jürgen Großmann took stock of the situation in Essen last Saturday.

On the occasion of the International Women's Day, professional women's network "Zonta-Club Essen I" had invited to a fundraiser at Haus der Technik in Essen. The evening's topic: "Management - A synthesis of power and love". The organisers' stated goal: Raise awareness for women's opportunities in industry and their professional prospects.

The talks between Jürgen Großmann and Swiss business woman Rosemarie L. Michel provided a lot of material for constructive discussions, also among some 350 guests, which were moderated by Helga Kirchner, Chief Editor of WDR Radio.

Michel, 75, has worked for decades in projects and organisations for the advancement of women. Her personal experience provided a good background for the discussions with Jürgen Großmann. They were not only talking about equal opportunities in general but also about different management styles, women in executive positions and meaningful ways of support. Being the only man on stage, Großmann stood not only for RWE - his views were considered to represent those of "all men".

Großmann contributed his private experience: His wife is a successful music publisher and "we also serve as an example for a good work-life balance", the RWE CEO concluded. The fact that both parents work was not a disadvantage for their children, he said, "although compared to the United States, Germany certainly still has some catching up to do."

Michel referred to studies showing that companies whose management consists of men and women are more profitable, which in her view is enough incentive for more sponsoring of women. Großmann underlined that the number of women in management positions increases faster at RWE than in other DAX companies. Female executives are already exchanging their views on the Group's own network. And last year, RWE signed the Diversity Charter initiative of Germany companies, thus committing itself, among other things, to ensure equal opportunities in professional development, regardless of one's gender. Moreover, many employed mothers and fathers benefit from RWE's flexible working hours.

Not yet satisfied, Michel was digging deeper: "And beyond that?" Großmann promised he would in future commit himself even more to the cause. There was general agreement on the issue of management styles: "Whether you are a man or a woman - staff leadership requires character", Großmann said. Michel supported him stating that a person's determination was crucial - no matter whether you are a man or a woman. She called upon the attending women to be confident and make use of existing opportunities. Nowadays, many women are well trained. Quota systems, by contrast, "are not what they need or want".

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