Bianca Stöhr

Bianca Stöhr: priority to gender diversity at work

Published on 08 March 2023

Bianca Stöhr, Head of People, Culture & CSR at SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa, shares with us the objectives, the commitment and the actions implemented within her subsidiary in terms of gender equality and diversity at work.

Is gender diversity a priority for companies?

If it isn’t yet, it certainly should be! My impression is that most organisations at least understand the importance of gender balance in their workforce. Not all of them, however, accord it the same priority as we do at SPIE.

In a few words, could you present the gender diversity policy at SPIE?

At SPIE, gender diversity is one of our key corporate objectives and an integral part of our plans at all levels. The first part of this is strategic. We have asked ourselves what ‘diversity’ means within our company and how we define and measure it. We have also signed the Diversity Charter to underline its importance and we set up So’SPIE Ladies as a network.

The second part is setting hard-and-fast goals and making sure they are achieved. By 2025, we want to increase the number of female managers by 20% in Deutschland & Zentraleuropa compared to 2019. Obviously, it is harder to recruit women in technical roles – we can’t change the fact that they are still underrepresented in the pool of potential employees – but with our clear focus and engagement we are making progress, nonetheless.

Is the So'SPIE Ladies network a SPIE innovation?

We are by no means the only company in our industry to have set up an internal network for women. So’SPIE Ladies is, however, certainly very innovative in its approach. Ideas like the “lunch roulette” initiative, where we randomly match participants during their lunch hour once a month, really bring it to life. And I am pleased that Marjorie mentioned executive interest in the network, because that really does set it apart. SPIE is now a company where it has become customary for top-level executives to take part in events like the La Parisienne charity run to raise funds for breast cancer.

Which challenges are facing SPIE in its quest to develop gender diversity?

Establishing gender diversity as a priority for everyone at SPIE is the next step. We are making progress here, too. In management seminars, we have modules about fostering female talent, we focus on female talents in our talent review process and we ensure a minimum of a 20% female participation on management training courses. Many male participants feel personally responsible for creating a diverse environment. They want to attract and not lose good employees.