I am pleased to recognize diversity getting as a more and more essential task on the agenda of the business world. Yet, reports indicating the women’s representation in the business reveal that we need to work harder on this issue. Unfortunately, our country is not in the top ranks in terms of women’s inclusion in the workforce. And those who do take part in business life face various challenges in the quest for equal opportunities as men for senior positions. We believe this must change and we implement various initiatives to support female employment and equal opportunity in both our company and in Turkey.
However, I would like to discuss another aspect of the issue today. In this era, women’s social roles are a lot more complex and heavier than before. In addition to becoming a mother, most women are also expected to continue their careers and business responsibilities exactly as they used to do before having a child. I must admit that this is a huge pressure to bear. I sincerely congratulate women who manage to create a balance between these responsibilities despite all the heavy burden.
Yet, apart from appreciation, what do we really do to share these responsibilities, to ease the burden that is suddenly placed onto women? With such a sudden change in daily routine, women may think they need to choose between motherhood and career, thus start asking the question: “Should I drop one out?”
That is why, in addition to thanking women for the value they generate and for their creative efforts, we also need to discuss whether we understand their responsibilities, priorities and the pressure, and what steps we can take to reduce this pressure. Plus, instead of limiting this discussion to a certain period, we need to build a sustainable corporate framework and act on it to ensure progress.
At Siemens, we advocate providing more opportunities for female employees to be able to truly talk about equality. We not only fully support the legal rights of maternity, but also provide the best support we can through some special practices. Since “back to work” period can be difficult, we hold adaptation and parenting trainings to support new mothers. These trainings are not limited to the first months of parenting, they continue in the following years with different scopes. With the kindergarten support for pre-school period, we pay attention to sharing the financial and mental burden of mothers. And we implement those in line with our diversity principles and understanding.
Diversity is not a new concept or movement to us. It has always been one of the fundamental values of our corporate culture. We believe that diverse perspectives, mindsets and cultural values are keys to equality, development and success. That is why we organize gender equality and diversity trainings for all employees, both men and women.
Witnessing many global and regional problems today, I believe that we need to benefit from women’s distinctive perspective and evaluation of incidents and problems. Imagining, designing policies and acting together, women and men can offer solutions that are a lot more efficient and workable than the ones we currently have. Thus, we can build a more peaceful and optimistic future together. We unfortunately observe that men are immensely responsible for social violence of every level (from wars to domestic violence) and many other sorts of disagreements. That is why we gravely and urgently need constructive cooperation between women and men.