06 '22 | A different language is a different vision of life.
 – Federico Fellini

Does the conscious use of language help to overcome gender stereotypes, and thus open up a corporate culture to a diverse workforce?

How do public and private organisations behave with regard to the use of gender-sensitive language? When researching on the internet, I quickly found what I was searched for in public institutions. The University of Hamburg, for example, has set itself the goal of enabling equal participation and involvement for all - regardless of gender. One element of this is language: "In order to address as many people as possible, it is therefore recommended to write and speak in a gender-appropriate way". (

Language is an expression of attitude. Universities are leading the way, but companies are finding it more difficult. According to an online study by the content marketing agency Coco from September 2021, only 5 of the 40 DAX companies consistently use gender-neutral language. Although gender-neutral job postings have been mandatory since 2019, at the time of the study only 57.5% of DAX companies implemented such language on their websites or homepages. (

This is a disappointment - because the use of gender-sensitive language by itself leads to a more diverse group of applicants, as relevantly more women actively apply. At least that is the result of a study published in 2017 by researchers at the Technical University of Munich. The study examined applicant behaviour in response to the advertisement for a scholarship, whereby the text of the advertisement differed and was presented once in a gender-appropriate way and once in the classic way. The researchers demonstrated that women reacted more positively to a gender-appropriate advertisement than to the traditionally worded advertisement, while for men the use of language had no influence on their evaluation. (

There even seems to be a particular conflict among Germans on this topic - even outside of companies: "„Germans, they say, have a word for everything. After all, with an ever-increasing arsenal of compound nouns — the pandemic, for example, gifted us the somewhat dystopian Anderthalbmetergesellschaft, 1.5-meter society, among hundreds of other coronavirus neologisms — the German language holds a well-earned reputation for precision. But there’s one thing no one can quite agree how to express: gender neutrality.“ (

All these findings are based on one observation: our language is changing. This change is not welcomed by everyone, and some people resist it. I found an explanation for this on the website of the science programme Quarks: "Unfamilar words are more strenuous for our brain (...) - at first. Because it needs more cognitive resources to process them. But the more often we use unfamilar words, the more neuronal connections are formed." And the more connections are formed, the easier it is for us to use gender-equitable language. Even though the new language can be met with resistance and criticism, the positive possibilities are certainly desirable. Lara Schwenger summarises these opportunities of gendering for Quarks, which have been proven by scientific studies: Women become more visible in professional contexts, children potentially expand their possible career choices in their imaginations, and people think more openly about gender roles (
For companies, greater gender diversity has a clear economic benefit, according to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey, since: " Companies with high gender diversity have a 25% and thus significantly greater probability of being more profitable than average (in 2014, the value was still 15%)" ( ).

Those who want to help shape this change through their own language do not have to submit to rigid language regulations, but can experiment with different forms, because a certain direction has not really taken hold yet. With a gender asterisk or rather with the indented I? Or neutralisations can be used, such as "the students" or "the participants".

If I personally want to rethink my language - what linguistic dimensions should I pay attention to when using gender-equal, inclusive language? What is available to me when I want to find my own expression? When I was thinking about this question, the event from the MentorMe Community came at just the right time.
And I learned: There are a lot of things I was not aware of yet! In a perfect mix of input and self-reflective interactions between the participants, it brought me insightful impulses from the workshop with Ellen Wagner. A big thank you also to Sheyma A. for the thought-provoking idea of "un-learning"!


First aid for gender neutral writing:


02 '22 | Hey - it's me!

Have you ever had the chance to get quick and conclusive feedback from others about how they (hopefully) experience you as a person when working with you? I had the opportunity to experience this more or less as a test subject.

My experiment started with these thought provoking words in an advert: "Texts about your own company, interviews with you in which you express who you are, what you do and why it's all a good thing, are sometimes difficult to generate or pay for, especially for smaller companies or self-employed people. However, if you take an hour or two, you can have texts like these created for free as part of this project. How and by whom? The texts will be written by students participating in a practical seminar at the University of Kassel."

That attracted my attention immediately! I had just had the difficult experience of doing exactly that while putting together the text for this website.
After an hour of participating, I received the first draft. And then my "brooding" began.Thanks to a patient examination of my input, a wonderfully light handed revision, and a veritable barrage of ideas for a headline, this text was created with the help of the fantastic Annabelle Schareina. See for yourself:

Rediscovering your own leadership skills through coaching

Do other people’s expectations of you create feelings of pressure, do you lack perspective in your everyday work, or are you struggling to achieve your goals? If so, then professional coaching may help help you. The joint effort can replace stress with reinvigorated motivation.

Elke Kegelmann is a professional coach for self-employed entrepreneurs and leaders from all business fields. Even though she offers her work as a coach only on a part-time basis, she puts her heart and soul into this activity, which immediately becomes apparent in the initial personal contact.

Kegelmann's affinity for and closeness to her clients emerges during the first individual consultation, through which the understanding and direction for the following coaching sessions begins. Clients are empowered to find, position themselves and state their own goals with greater clarity. Together, the coaching stages are agreed upon. In sessions lasting two to two and a half hours, new strengths are mobilized for the purpose of staying goal oriented along with the appropriate next steps to realize these same goals. You will receive the kind of support you need that is characterized by respect and an atmosphere of trust.

The daily challenges in an international company in the field of human resources give her a high degree credibility and her accumulated experience allows her to quickly comprehend her client’s situation. The combination of having carried the weighty responsibility herself for decisions, results and teams and a profound coaching education come together with curiosity and creativity. An exchange takes place that is made more tangible through empathy and personal experience, so that her clients feel heard and understood. A range of methods and approaches are developed with and for the coachee. An emphasis is placed on strengthening self-efficacy that is also sustainable after the coaching is completed. Kegelmann's coaching is also supported by supplementary online material, which give clients the chance for reinforcement, deepening or repetition without having to wait for the next session. This allows the clients to control their own pace, which can be pursued independently of the coaching session.

It's no longer necessary to stay stuck in a hamster wheel with no discernable exit, but rather to choose a path full of ideas and possibilities. If the client cannot be supported by her in a timely manner, an alternative is always offered. For this, Kegelmann is able to establish contacts through her broad network so that clients can take the first steps toward the desired change and find solutions to enhance their career prospects.

Sidefact: Elke Kegelmann graduated from the Georg-August University in Göttingen with a degree in Social Economics. She has been working in her profession for more than 20 years and after a double coaching advanced education she is also active as a coach. She coaches individuals as well as groups in entrepreneurial fields and attaches great importance to a loyal and dynamic collaboration in order to find successful strategies.


11 '21 | Let’s mentor!

There is always a particular impulse that triggers the next step, the next big movement. My personal kick-starter to support women as a mentor in their professional development was the film "Woman". Two thousand women from fifty countries talked about their lives in education, professional development, their socialization as part of a society and culture in which they cannot or could not develop as they should. "But what WOMAN highlights most is the immense strength of women. This strength and their ability to change the world for the better despite all obstacles and injustices touches, inspires and offers their profiles in courage. In this new era where women's voices are becoming louder and louder, the goal of the film is not just to demand rights or focus on their problems, but to finally allow women's voices to be heard, to find solutions, and to ensure that women are never again seen as the "weaker sex."

The stories touched me deeply as a woman, as a mother, as a human being. My next thought was a call to action. “I want to do something!” I said to myself. No sooner said than done. I registered shortly thereafter with MentorMe. Since then, I have been offering my experience as a leader and mentor, the special knowledge I have acquired and my professionalism. I have made myself available to other women to take me on as a sparring partner – to challenge themselves and me -- where they find in me a resource for help.
1 (Mentor) + 1 (Mentee) = 3 (Values) - My Values:
1. Mentoring a mentee allows me to look at situations from a different angle, close to approximating other person's experience in order to understand what is going on, free of interests and goals. Exciting!
2) I am part of a community that is incredibly broad, colorful, professional, and enriching.
3. I combine my private engagement with my professional passion.
Your change begins. With MentorMe: For women who want to access mentoring, networking, and training to successfully start and later position themselves on the job and in the workplace. Register or apply for a fellowship with MentorMe today!


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