Empowering women in the workplace

Werther, March 8th 2023
An interview with P+P Group HR Director Sercan Talas on International Women’s Day

Which woman in your life has particularly inspired you as a role model?

Actually, I never had a fixed role model. When I think about which woman has particularly inspired me in my life, I think of my grandmother. She went her own way and was always very open-minded – that’s what influenced me.

How would you define the term “female empowerment” for yourself?

For me, the term “female empowerment” means not so much the legal framework, but above all a common rethinking for the empowerment of women. Although the corresponding legal basis is absolutely necessary, change begins primarily in the mind. Even today, the classic, societal understanding of roles is often passed on from mothers to their children and thus continued from generation to generation. We women in particular should encourage other women in their career and family decisions. Instead of criticizing and condemning, we should accept and encourage choices!

What advice would you give to young women who are at the beginning of their careers?

First of all, young women should think about what is important to them and set a goal accordingly. Of course, you experience setbacks along the way. Personally, these have often strengthened me after I learned how to deal with them. But what is probably even more important is to free yourself from social norms and demands. Especially as a mother of two children, ages 11 and 14, and also as a “German with an immigrant background,” I always tried to free myself from the idea that such factors could play a negative role in my career path. For sure, the reality sometimes looked different. In the end, however, it was precisely such “setbacks” that strengthened me overall.

In summary: Stay true to yourself, believe in yourself and think positively!

What has already improved in recent years and what do you think still needs to change in order to create more equality in the workplace?

In recent years, measures such as the possibility of splitting parental leave, flexible working time and location models and the Pay Transparency Act have already promoted equality in the workplace. However, much more needs to be done here – for example, an expansion of all-day childcare and a women’s quota would be of central importance. In addition, the level of equality unfortunately varies greatly depending on the company, management and industry. It is therefore difficult to answer this question. A big step in the right direction would be if a woman could decide without a guilty conscience and criticism whether or not to start a family, pursue a career, or combine the two without compromising – just as men can do.

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