Monday, August 31, 2015

Quotas for women in leadership??

Recently I was interviewed by Susan Galer from SAP News and among many things we talked about we also touched upon how we can close the gender gap for women in leadership. Though couple of years back I was completely against quotas for women I have to admit I do think differently today. The fundamental reason for this thinking is because things have not really changed that much for women in senior leadership positions compared to the last 15 years. The number of female leaders on corporate boards worldwide remain stubbornly low! If change really needs to happen then something has to be changed as compared to the status quo of how things are dealt with at present.
However this resulted in some very passionate and emotional discussions among multiple people. Several women wrote to me privately thanking me for being bold and not making it all sound very hunky dory. Some men got really vocal and some even emotional and wrote back to me that this would be seen as inequality from their perspective. Some even got super worked up and tried to link the existence of caste based quotas in India to quotas for women in leadership!! Atrocious, I think  they somehow missed the whole train in the discussion and I was thankful that they were in the fewer minority of those who wrote back showing their support and encouragement.
SAP clearly has the goal to increase the percentage of women in management from 18% in 2010 to 25% in 2017 (a goal common to other players in the IT industry). You can read more here in the integrated report.
There is also a new German law on gender quotas (30 percent of women) in Supervisory Boards.  You can read more about it here Women in supervisory board in Germany.
So in summary the train has already left the station. The debates can continue to rage but we will all see where we stand in 2017. I  think that will be the real test with real results and figures to prove that change is possible. I would really like to hear your opinion and also share your experiences from the workplace. Would really appreciate if you write back!
For those of you who would prefer reading the interview in German you can find it here
P.S. The picture was taken with my friend Coco who works in the SAP Durban office as part of the facilities team there. She shared her dreams with me on how one day she plans to move to Johannesburg and maybe even some day move to Germany. Its all about following your dreams!