As a city, Berlin prides itself on being open-minded and liberal in its outlook. Its startup scene, however, does not always subscribe to the same values. Only a third of startup executives in Germany are women, according to Joblift’s European Startup Report from 2017, implying a major gender imbalance in most workplaces.

The same report also found a notable pay gap of 11 percent, with women on average earning €40,087 per year, compared to €44,309 for men. In a city where a new startup is founded every 20 minutes, these figures should be alarming to all startup leaders – regardless of gender, job title or experience.

For most of us, these statistics aren’t really surprising. Many women among us have experienced anything from subtle discrimination to overt sexism in the workplace. At our latest edition of DCMN SCALEup, we turned our attention to possible solutions. What can each of us do today to foster female leadership in our companies tomorrow?

The discussion brought together panelists from across Berlin’s startup spectrum to share their insights and experiences with a highly engaged audience. We asked each of our speakers to share one key takeaway that our audience could take home with them: what is something concrete that we can all realise in our work tomorrow? This is what they had to say.

In case you missed it, you can check out our photo gallery for the evening over on Facebook. Photos: Delphine de Ker

Vanessa Stock – Cofounder, Pitch

Give everyone an equal chance to be promoted without waiting that someone approaches you. Basically create a scheme where everyone is equally able to be promoted and get a salary raise. But first of all, not thinking in this binary system is a very good step.

ShaNon Bobinger – Systemic life and business coach

Each and every one of us should really think about who do we want to be — outside of the ideas that society has placed on us, outside of the standard roles that we are given or pushed into. And (we should) really try to free ourselves of these images and beliefs that all of us might have and instead think, who do I want to be? Who do I want to be in a potential leadership role and how is that going to manifest itself? And to stay as authentic as possible on that path.

DCMN SCALEup female leadership in action

Vanessa Stock, ShaNon Bobinger, Melanie Zimmermann, Jeannine Klein and Hillevi Lausten in debate at DCMN SCALEup. The discussion was moderated by DCMN’s Marie Therese Komm (far right). Photo: Delphine de Ker

Melanie Zimmermann – Head of Marketing, Wooga

Challenge mind models – your own mind models that you’ve learned – and be aware of your own social status as well, so you can see if other people are more or less privileged. If you understand your own role, you can really see if others may have a disadvantage just from the start without having even done anything. Really challenge yourself, question yourself and transfer it to other people.

Jeannine Klein – Head of Marketing, McMakler

It’s about the ownership topic. Young people in Berlin often go with the flow, they do a good job and get a promotion but they go with the flow. If you can see yourself in a leadership role, if you can see yourself speaking at a conference or leading a team, really take ownership for this and don’t wait for someone to ask you to do it. Really be responsible for your own path.

Hillevi Lausten – CMO, Flightright

Believe in yourself and actually trust yourself. I think that’s a great place to start.

To continue this important discussion, we plan to run a second round of SCALEup focusing on female leadership next year. Stay tuned for updates on future events!