If women belong to the top of the company, the profit increases - if you believe the figures from the economy. Scientific studies have examined whether this bill fits.

Unfortunately, women have to stay outside - this still applies to the vast majority of executive floors. According to a recent study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, only 2.5 percent of the board members of the 200 largest companies (excluding the financial sector) are female. Overall, women in this country occupy only 26.5 percent of management positions. In a European comparison, Germany lies behind Bulgaria and Lithuania (see chart on the right "Where women lead").

A major company was the first in Germany in the spring flag: The Telekom wants to introduce a quota. In the future, 30 percent of upper and middle management positions will be filled by women in order to increase economic success. Because several studies prove that companies win if they employ more female bosses. Productivity, profitability and profit are increasing with more women - the result was the Swedish agency for economic growth Nutuk, which analyzed 14, 000 companies in Sweden in 2003. This was confirmed a year later by a study by the American non-profit organization Catalyst, which was supported by the financial services provider BMO Financial Group. It surveyed 353 Fortune Global 500 companies, an annual list of the world's top-selling companies. Result: Firms with a high proportion of women in top management achieved higher equity and return on equity between 1996 and 2000 - an average of 35 percent more than the competition. The analysis "Women Matter 1" by the consulting firm McKinsey came to the same conclusion in 2007.


The best results come from companies with three or more women executives - in each of the nine categories that McKinsey sees as critical to business success: leadership, direction, ownership, coordination and control, innovation, outward orientation, performance, motivation, Working environment and values. It was striking that in a committee with an average of ten people three or more women have to sit in order to achieve a significant plus. A woman alone is not enough to make a difference. The question remains, what happens when leadership rounds consist exclusively of women. The results of an empirical study with which the Munich-based psychologist Nathali Klingen holds a doctorate show that women in their dealings with each other pay close attention to equal rights and democracy in the group. Accordingly, in a pure group of women in general, the strength and competence of individual members as well as competition among themselves taboo and open infighting avoided. But women often find it difficult to resolve conflicts openly.

Correspondingly, companies with mixed management receive a better rating than companies with same-sex management. In 2006, scientists from Cornell University and Georgia State University found that in an analysis of the "Fortune 500" for the period from 1998 to 2003. For example, investors rate the risk of gender discrimination lawsuits as being lower for companies with more women. This increases the value of the company. However, the studies do not explain what cause and what effect is: So whether financially successful companies hire more women, or conversely, more women in the company lead to greater financial success. display

It has not been proven that women are the better managers. But one thing is certain: diversity benefits a company. Martha Maznevski of the Business School IMD Lausanne points out in the EU report "Women in Science and Technology - The Business Perspective" of 2006 that the quality of team leadership plays a major role in this. Well-managed mixed teams perform better than homogeneous groups. Worst of all were poorly managed mixed teams. According to Masznevski, an important success factor is a culture of "inclusion", ie "inclusion": the individuality of the employees should not only be accepted, but they should even be expressly encouraged to express their different views.

McKinsey's 2008 Women Matter 2 study found that female behaviors help meet future challenges such as advancing globalization: female executives rely more on 'inspiration, participative decision-making, and reward' than men. Men, on the other hand, rely on "performance control", which, according to the study, is of little use during a crisis and afterwards. McKinsey's new study "Women Matter 3" shows that companies with more female executives are better able to cope with the current economic crisis thanks to these characteristics.

The claim that women are not continuing their career because of their children does not seem to be true. After all, this was only mentioned by every tenth manager as a problem that Sonja Bischoff asked in her study "Who leads into the future?". Since 1986, the Professor of General Business Administration at the University of Hamburg has been researching middle management in Germany. In the fifth study, which was supported by the German Society for Personnel Management, almost 370 executives took part in 2008 - half men and half women. The amazing result: The biggest obstacle for female bosses is still the prejudice they face. A quarter of female executives said that leadership skills are simply denied. This has not changed in the last 25 years: "The personal experience of discrimination in female managers is just as common today as it was in 1986, " says Bischoff.

This is confirmed by a recent study by the Sinus Institute in Heidelberg. In a survey of male executives Carsten Wippermann determined that three mentality patterns secure the "glass ceiling" that prevents women from ascending. The conservative type rejects women by gender and does not want to have them on the board. The second type has an emancipated attitude, but says that women have no chance because they have too little toughness for top management. The third type argues that gender does not play a role in the occupation, but that there are not enough women to be authentic and flexible enough to hold a leadership position. Just as the prejudices have not changed the salary differences since 1986. "Women do not have to interrupt their career to earn less than men, " Bischoff sums it up. Their study shows that there is a 75, 000 euro threshold for middle management: most women are below their earnings, most of them are men. Men's incomes have also skyrocketed in recent years, while women's incomes have grown only moderately. The result: who earns less as a manager with the same performance, has less desire to ascend. Of course, women can also be motivated by money, emphasizes Sonja Bischoff.


Above all, women are failing due to a lack of "raising efficiency", according to Bonner management trainer Monika Henn. She found in an empirical study that male executives differed in assertiveness and resilience from their peers, while female executives found it more flexible t and high team orientation. These properties are helpful for a leadership role. But: No matter if self-marketing, networking, strategic calculation or power striving women hold back stronger than men. While men traditionally have a stable dominance hierarchy, women have an unstable hierarchy of validity, which is constantly renegotiated. This hinders the direct way up.

Bischoff is also convinced that women managers have to work more purposefully on their careers. Just under a third of women do not even consider a leadership position compared to just under a fifth of the men. At a higher hierarchical level, the proportion of upward-oriented men increases. And: Top executives are also top-class workers, "says Bischoff. As many more women than men in management positions have reduced their working hours, and meanwhile 71 percent of women work less than 50 hours a week (compared to 46 percent of men), M Men are more likely to be there when it comes to filling a new or vacant post.

However, if a woman has made it to the top, she can benefit from her prejudices - for example, she is too empathetic and not as competent as a man. This was the result of a study by Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, assistant professor at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. In two experiments, a total of over 400 students were asked to rate fictitious newspaper articles describing male and female managers, as well as fictitious job descriptions and performance evaluations. Rosette and co-author Leigh Plunkett Tost found that female executives in positions of responsibility were perceived differently. Suddenly, it was important that they feel empathetic and competent. They even outperformed male executives in the students' assessment.

ISABEL NITZSCHE, a journalist and career expert in Munich, believes that most women could better market their performance.

by Isabel Nitzsche


Germany is in the midfield. Norway has prescribed a quota since 2008: at least 40 percent of the executive floors must be occupied by women.


The mix of the genders in top management is important for the success of a company.

Women have as good leadership skills as men, but they often hold back on the climb.

Frauen In executive floors, women benefit from prejudice.


As a top manager, how do you experience the difference to male executives, Ms. Stachelhaus?

Often I was the only woman among 50 and more men. Broad shoulders, deep voice and hit the table this is the usual idea of ​​assertiveness. Women manage differently: stubborn, emphatic and quieter. They do not correspond to the usual role cliché, but are no less successful.

What do women have to keep in mind on the way up?

They should stay true to their style, seek support from mentors, and plan what they want to achieve. When job offers, they often doubt if they can do that. Men say, 'class, I do' - and are ready to fight through conflicts. My husband and I decided early on that I deserve the bread - that helped me. My first job as a lawyer for employment law and software licensing was great, but not forever. I soon asked my boss, "What's next?"

What do you think of a quota for female executives?

Nothing if it is prescribed by the state. But companies need to set clear goals for female managers and create a culture in which women feel respected and in which even softer tones are heard.

Do women have to fear being labeled a quota woman?

If the state intervenes, perhaps rightly so. But not when companies change their culture. Regardless of this, candidates must always be qualified for the respective position. I advise women to treat gender devaluation with coolness and to ignore it coolly.



Sonja Bischoff WHO LEADS TO THE FUTURE? Men and Women in Business Leadership in Germany Bertelsmann, Bielefeld 2010, € 39, -


European Commission Study: WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY The Business Perspective (WIST) Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg 2006: ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/pdf/wist_report_final_en.pdf

Studies by the management consultancy McKinsey on "Gender Diversity as Factor for Business Success": www.mckinsey.de/html/publikationen/women_matter/index.asp

The European Women's Management Development International Network (EWMD), founded in 1984, is committed to increasing the participation of skilled women in leadership positions in business and society: www.wmd.org

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