Cherchez la Femme

We don’t know this woman. A recruiter is looking for her to publish a portrait: Mother, reentrant, part-time, worked up, with budget and management responsibility, member of the board of directors, preferably president. Without nanny help and none who owns the company. As an heiress, compatibility is very easy. The woman should work for equal pay and compatibility in the company. childcare places, wage transparency, equal opportunities after re-entry, part-time offers. He wanted to portray a role model, how a woman as a re-entrant comes to the top. But he only knew established women leaders who were always employed along with their children, many of them full-time, but that couldn’t be it, could it? He wanted to show his SME target group how baby leave and part-time work can work. But not an entrepreneur’s wife. And not an entrepreneur either – they are not “in the wind”. One who has made it as an independent, external board member without costly daily structures for the children – that’s only for the rich. An ordinary normal case, after all.

We know thousands of stories about how it works, but we’ve never met this before.

Could it also be another success story? One without a baby break for example or with Nanny or with full time or as a family successor? No. He wants to show the decision-makers that women should be given a chance after the baby break, that it can be worthwhile to take one even with only 60 percent. He wants to help promote women. So far, so laudable. Reality works differently, but the good man didn’t want to know anything about it. Nor from the fact that, as a society with a lack of specialists and managers, we need other role models than highly educated, qualified women with a gap in employment and experience over many years, who want to return to part-time work and naively claim equal opportunities and equal pay. He was not interested in more tried and tested models. He simply had a romantic understanding of the family. Responsibility as a publicist? No, not at all. This is why one cannot find a suitable woman if one looks for a fixed idea that is out of touch with reality. Column by Esther-Mirjam de Boer, CEO of GetDiversity in the Handelszeitung of 15 August 2019.