The Quota is a Door-Opener for Extensive Cultural Work
Interview with Thomas Sattelberger, Telekom Executive Board member
DMR: About one year ago, you announced the introduction of a quota for women executives in the Deutsche Telekom Group. This step generated new impetus in the public debate concerning equal opportunity for women. Were you surprised by the intensity of the discussion?
T. Sattelberger: Personally, it is a source of satisfaction to see how the social debate on this topic, which had “gone to sleep”, has been revitalized so energetically. The discussion was long overdue because there is absolutely no sense in claiming that everything humanly possible – from the mentoring of women to day care centers – had been done to solve the problem of the underrepresentation of women in executive positions. It was completely obvious that we were moving like a hamster running in the wheel of the cage: more and more of the same without any true success in accomplishing change.
DMR: What was the reaction of the associates to the measures?
T. Sattelberger: The entire Deutsche Telekom Executive Board, with René Obermann leading the way, decided to “walk the talk” and make use of new, more effective leverage. This was an unmistakable signal. The vehemence of the discussions in our corporation was and is similar to that in the public arena. The quota is not an end in itself; it is the door-opener for extensive cultural work, the germ cell for the development of comprehensive diversity at Telekom, and it affects every single individual.
DMR: Have the results so far satisfied your expectations?
T. Sattelberger: One year after introducing the women’s quota, we have reached our first milestone – in both quantitative and qualitative terms. We have invested a lot of passion as well as money in this binding, voluntary commitment. It has involved above all extensive cultural work, a support infrastructure, and great expenditures for logistics, and the first year of the women’s quota was noteworthy above all for the “grass roots work.” We have laid the foundation for the transformation – and now all DAX 30 companies are following the path blazed by Telekom.Next page