July 8, 2019
Meetup Women Techmakers Summer Party @ Xing 26. Juni 2019
Last week, we celebrated our two-year partnership with XING in a beautiful location overlooking the rooftops of the city right on Stephansplatz. On this occasion, at our Meetup, two-inspiring women, with an impressive career path, discussed the question: “Do women need a special treatment? Afterwards, we ended the evening in the airy heights of the beautiful XING Head Offices in Hamburg with a relaxed network.
Meetup with Uygar Sönmez and Angela Kapdan: Do women need special treatment? The question of the evening was whether women need special treatment in their working environment. Uygar Sönmezm, Director Engineering and Angela Kapdan, Product Manager, presented this so-called ‘special treatment’, by which women in professional life are forced to justify themselves again and again for career and family, because of their own experiences. During Angela’s pregnancy, friends, family and colleagues kept asking her if she would come
back at all. Statements like “You probably won’t come back to your job anyway, because you’ll get the second child after the first one” or “You should definitely stay at home for two years, that’s how my wife did it” were common practice. Whereas it is perfectly legitimate for men to reconcile family and career, women still must justify how they should behave in case of pregnancy without questioning them. Angela Kaplan was able to reconcile her child’s upbringing with her husband’s flexible working hours and quickly find her way back to work. However, the accusations did not stop. Indirectly, she was accused of being a bad mother and her husband of being a henpecked husband, because he was responsible for raising the children at home. Uygar Sönmez was always supported and encouraged in her career goals before her family. She is now a proud mother of a daughter and a female executive as Director Engineering at XING. The road up to that point was anything but easy! She also had to justify herself again and again and had to live with feelings of guilt as a mother and as a woman: “How can you give your one-year-old child to the kindergarten? But no one was suspicious of the fact that the father went back to work right after the child was born.
Do women need superpowers to do the same job as men?”
When Uygar Sönmez applied at the time, the employers were very impressed with her resume so far: “Wow, her career is really impressive! It’s unbelievable how she managed such a career as a woman! Even if it sounds like praise, it is in no way. Today, women no longer must decide between family and career, because both are possible. It is not about being better than men, but about being equal and taken just as seriously.
Men are often unaware that they also have the option of parental leave. The self-evident fact that women are automatically responsible for bringing up their children must be questioned again and again. It is so firmly anchored in our minds that it takes time for change. But with every decision, however small, everyone can contribute to change.
Uygar sums up that what is needed above all is good support from family, friends and colleagues. A good infrastructure and strong relationships are the be-all and end-all. In addition, many companies have kindergartens and other support for parents to make the journey easier. But we as women must demand it. As one participant from the audience said: “You are just pregnant, you are not losing your brain! To Answer our question: Do women need special treatment? No but unfortunately, we still get one especially when we decide to have a family next to our jobs.
One aspect that was also addressed was the gender pay gap in IT. Alarmingly, the gender pay gap in Europe is one of the highest of all. So much still needs to change before women and men are treated equally. But women like Uygar Sönmez and Angela Kapdan are encouraging and showing that we are on the right track!
We are looking forward to seeing you at our next Meetup in Hamburg at XING SE. More information on the next Meetups can be found here.