Gender equality and female empowerment have never been higher on the news agenda and these issues are now, rightly, being given the due recognition they deserve – across the meetings and events sector – and society at large. At a new conference during EduMonday at IMEX in Frankfurt, pioneering women will share their experiences, provide valuable advice and inspire action.
Inspirational women from around the world are sharing their perspectives on the current climate at She Means Business, taking place the day before the show on Monday 14 May, as part of EduMonday at IMEX in Frankfurt. The new half day conference, created in partnership with tw tagungswirtschaft magazine, celebrates the role of women in the industry. Meeting and event strategists – both female and male – are invited to network and learn from a packed programme of highly influential speakers and mentors.
Pioneering women – pilots and astronauts
The speakers are inspirational women from diverse backgrounds and sectors. What unites them is that they have overcome challenges and broken boundaries. The day starts with ‘Women in space’, where Major Nicola Baumann, one of Germany’s only three female Eurofighter pilots, and Laura Winterling, a former astronaut instructor and CEO of Space Time Concepts GmbH, will be delivering the keynote (supported by the Cologne Convention Bureau), talking openly about their successes and failures, why it’s important to be brave and challenge yourself and how striving to be your best self is an ongoing journey.
Female business leaders from backgrounds including tech, finance and the UN share their personal perspectives on issues including empowering women in the workplace, eradicating the gender pay gap and increasing leadership positions held by women. The UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles are a set of guidelines for businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
Chairwoman of the UN Women National Committee, Germany, Karin Nordmeyer explores these in her session, part of the Women in Business strand. She explains: “These principles can be transferred to any industry. The task is to break down this approach to individual sectors and environments – such as the meetings and events industry – and to change structures and develop models so that women can live to their full potential and strengths.”
Gender equality, namely reducing the gender pay gap, will be covered by Dr. Mara Harvey, Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy at UBS. She explains: “We’ve always seen gender balance and equality as a priority, but I think we have now passed a tipping point. Organisations are now realising that the efforts made so far have not been enough. We need to accelerate this even further.”
Encouraging women into leadership positions and counteracting gender bias are among the other topics covered by speakers including Director of Global Employer Branding at SAP, Suzanna Labonde, and CEO of the European Association of Cardiology, Isabel Bardinet.
Gender parity and empowerment – in the events sector and beyond
The Global Summit of Women, designed to drive women’s advancement in the global economy, takes place in Sydney this year. At the Women in Events strand, Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney, is set to share her personal insights and solutions gained as host city for this renowned business and economic forum, as well as best practice examples of organisations driving a cultural shift to support business women.
Ensuring gender parity in events is one of the core values of re:publica, Europe’s biggest digital conference. Director Jeannine Koch will explain how the focus on equality empowers the event’s community.
Award-winning reporter, producer and presenter, Talia Sanhewe, will moderate the conference. With previous experience working with the World Economic Forum, CNBC and the BBC World Service, Talia is passionate about inspiring change. She explains: “She Means Business is perfectly timed – never before has the power, position and purpose of women been more important than it is today.
“I’m incredibly excited to moderate and facilitate discussions with some of the world’s leading female thought leaders, because their message and unique stories are set to inspire and uplift the audience. My hope is to use this platform to facilitate an outstanding event, which will in turn provide a valuable contribution towards a powerful movement within the global events industry.”
She Means Business rounds off with ‘Women in the meetings industry – on eye level with men?’ – a panel discussion moderated by Sheriff Karamat, CEO of PCMA, discussing how a commitment to gender equality and diversity can lead to positive change and new opportunities. This is followed by the opportunity for in-depth roundtable discussions and networking.
Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, comments: “Our new conference, She Means Business, has come at a crucial juncture in society – we’ve reached a turning point where these issues have come to the fore. The next step now is to decide how to move forward – and She Means Business will provide a platform for forward-thinking women – and men – to come together and take action.”
“We’re delighted to be launching She Means Business with the IMEX Group,” explains Kerstin Wünsch, Editor-in-chief of tw tagungswirtschaft. “We believe that the sharing of experiences and opinions is the most powerful way for women to talk to each other and to men in order to encourage working together to achieve diversity and gender equality.”
She Means Business is part of EduMonday, taking place on Monday 14 May, the day before IMEX in Frankfurt. EduMonday launched last year but has already grown exponentially to include many powerful initiatives that address the current issues of the day.