Change Yourself, Change the World

Times have never been better than today for women to achieve what they want,“ says Ursula Schwarzenbart, Chief Diversity Officer at Daimler. Yet, many barriers and obstacles are still in place, as for instance McKinsey’s study Women Matter shows.

Case in point: only 16percent of women top managers and 36percent of their male colleagues consider their respective companies commited to gender equality. This needs to be addressed, stresses Bettina Orlopp, a partner at McKinsey.

„There is a long way [ahead of us], but we have started,“ Orlopp says.

So what should be done?

- make commitment of senior management more visible

- know the numbers (some companies don’t know how many female they employ)

- target particular problems you haver with specific initiatives

- tackle the (prevailing) mindset

It is the last issue Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, considers the biggest obstacle. Go to and see for yourself – we are all racists, we are all sexists, we are all what we don’t want to be, to an extent.

This is why the change of the pattern is what is needed the most, Bohnet says. 

To change the pattern, one needs to admit that we all have our biases and prejudices and, second, one has to make a leap of faith – change organizational structures to make the change „easy and fun“. Otherwise, there will never be a real paradigm shift, Bohnet argues. 

DLD2011 - The Big Picture DLD (Digital-Life-Design) is a global conference network on innovation, digital media, science and culture which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion-formers and investors for crossover conversation and inspiration. Chairmen of DLD are publisher Hubert Burda and serial digital investor Yossi Vardi. DLD has been founded by Stephanie Czerny and Marcel Reichart in 2005.


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