Blog & News Read the latest news and insights on diversity and equal opportunities in Swiss organizations. We will keep you regularly updated by posting the latest news about the project as well as exciting insights on the topic of diversity and equal opportunities in Swiss organizations. From Diversity Management to Diversity & Inclusion? 2 September 2019, by Dr. Gabriele Schambach As already 10 years ago, the conference and scientific networking meeting of diversity researchers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland took place from 26 to 27 August 2019 at the University of St. Gallen (more information). In eight sessions, 26 contributions from research and practice were presented and used as a starting point to discuss how diversity and inclusion can be (better) implemented in companies and organizations. The contributions dealt with questions of how diversity and inclusion can be anchored conceptually and theoretically, as well as questions about change, learning, contradictions and exclusions. Moreover, the latest empirical results from organizations, administration, universities and non-profit organizations were unveiled. Over and above geographical and content boundaries, the focus was again and again on how we can make it possible to create more diversity and facilitate inclusion. The diverse nature of contributions showed in how many different contexts diversity and inclusion are addressed and dealt with. The wealth of information stimulated reflection as well as lively discussions about the contributions during session breaks. Three fantastic keynotes were the anchor points of the conference: Prof. Maddie Janssen from the University of Leuven in Belgium offered a review of the development of diversity research and presented a truly exciting dance project, which represents a potential opportunity for further sustainable research in the field. No less inspiring, and particularly exciting for our project, Prof. Elisabeth Kelan from the University of Essex in the UK presented her research and illustrated how (male) managers can promote equal opportunities (we will give you more details in a separate post!). Serving as a transition from the academic conference to the practitioner-oriented 3rd Gallen Diversity and Inclusion Conference on August 29, 2019, PD Dr. Thomas Köllen from the University of Bern presented his research findings on LGBT* in organizational and management research. Titled "Inclusion means cultural change - or what male executives can do for the advancement of women in the company", Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich and I submitted a paper from our project "Leaders for Equality - equality needs men" (see presentation slides). For our presentation, we started by giving an overview of the status quo of international research on the topic of men, male executives and gender equality in organizations. While there have been several interesting projects and some advancements have been made indeed, research is scarce on this topic to date. On the one hand, this is regrettable because we would like to build on existing work in our project. On the other hand, it makes clear how urgently our research contribution on the role of male executives is needed if diversity and inclusion in companies are to prosper. For the second part, we presented our professional experiences in working on that topic with male managers in companies. Like this we were able to show that some of the practical examples are more far-reaching than current research. For us, this is also the confirmation that our project will create a close link between academic and business practice. In the coming months, we will now gradually fill the gaps in research and link them to activities in our project companies. In any case, we will also present our findings at next year's specialist and networking conference for diversity researchers in German-speaking countries at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (see here). If you would like to find out more about our work, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to contribute to our project as a manager or equal opportunities expert*, we would be pleased to hear from you via email. Why Organizations Need to Include Men to Promote Diversity 1 July 2019, by Dr. Gabriele Schambach Diversity is a women's topic.Women are still (strongly) underrepresented in the top management of Swiss companies. Women earn less than men. Their skills and potential as managers and experts are still underestimated. As mothers, they take care of most of the so-called care work, i.e. the everyday caring for children and relatives as well as managing the household. Their professional biographies are incomplete due to family periods. Their career prospects are limited by part-time work. Pensions are correspondingly low. They are regarded as emotional, conflict-shy, bitchy, family-oriented - all characteristics that are not particularly appreciated in professional life. Companies react – if at all - with individual measures for further qualification and empowerment of women. They offer solutions to help balance career and family, mentoring and seminar programs, networks of women etc. These are indisputably meaningful activities - but the assumption that the focus on women alone changes the situation is not enough. The reason being that these activities are usually designed to change women and make them conform with the circumstances of the company, which is also known as "Fixing the Women". Necessary changes in corporate structures and cultures are not taken into account. Likewise, male colleagues, superiors and employees are not taken into account - and thus the potential they offer for equality is not exploited. Even though it is absolutely necessary to include all employees in a company, in order to initiate the necessary cultural change. Especially the – predominantly male – managers need to be brought on board. They represent a resource for equality that has hardly been used to date and which also represents – quantitatively and qualitatively – an influential stakeholder group. Only together, it is possible to implement adequate measures and achieve equal opportunities. But why should men support gender equality? After all, they no longer have the same career opportunities if there are to be more women in management positions! There are (at least) two answers to this question: 1. Men also benefit from gender equality. So far they have worked long hours in the office and bear the largest burden in generating family income. This responsibility, as well as the culture of competition and dominance that often exists in male-dominated companies, is unhealthy for men. Their life plans are based on the role of "tough guys", who feed the family and have a career. Variation and diversity exists in the form of sabbaticals, family time, part-time work, being a houseman or the like, but as of right now, they are still all too often the exotic exception and not yet the norm. Many fathers would also like to have more time for their family. Both fathers and mothers want to be there for their children after starting a family. A more reliable professional development of women would enable men to live a more relaxed life and at the same time help reduce their wives' overall workload. It becomes clear: If corporate cultures and structures change towards more equality, this also opens up a vast range of opportunities for men. 2. Promoting equal opportunities is a task for – male - managers. Implementing equal opportunities in day-to-day business is a question of fairness and justice. It has also been known for some time that equality, equal opportunities and diversity are by no means harmful for companies - on the contrary, they contribute significantly to the economic success of companies. If something is to change here in the coming years, men are wanted in their function as managers and as designers of change. – and in this function, we should urgently help them to assume this responsibility! Of course, promoting equal opportunities does not only require men. It also requires women. And because we believe that equality and change can likely be achieved by managers, we have named our project "Leaders for Equality – managers seizing opportunities”. If you want to learn more about our work, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to contribute to our project as a manager or diversity & inclusion expert, we would be delighted to hear from you via email.