As things stand, women find themselves in the minority in technical professions and in the IT sector. Our colleague, Irmgard Gmachl, however, is convinced that mixed teams are smarter and that all IT companies should take an interest in being especially appealing to women. For this reason, in early 2019 together with Elisabeth Wimmer and Karin Kremser, she founded our women@POI network.
“The aim of the initiative is to strengthen and motivate women to take on responsibilities and to create stronger networks for them. Our male colleagues have more opportunities to network from the very outset, simply because they represent the majority in most teams. For us it is important for our initiative to be able to balance this out,” says Irmgard Gmachl.
Network, female, wanted
Network meetings have been held biannually since May 2019. Porsche Informatik was the first subsidiary of Porsche Holding to address the issue of women’s networks, so it was uncertain what reaction this would receive. The positive feedback has encouraged the initiators to continue with their work.
At the network meetings, women@POI invites external experts to give keynote speeches. Afterwards, our colleagues have an opportunity to get to know each other better and exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. “Participation has been very high – and of course we are pleased about that, but above all it shows how important our initiative is”, explains Irmgard.
Eveline Breitwieser-Wunderl, the Diversity Manager at Porsche Holding, was also present at the first network meeting and talked about her work within the Group. She is excited about the initiative: “I think it is good that Porsche Informatik is laying the foundations and launching a women’s network. And by the way, every year Porsche Holding also takes part in Girls’ Day, because the promotion of girls in technical professions has to start at an early age.” With a view to further strengthening and supporting women in the Group, diversity training for executives is being planned.
Our network meeting in spring 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis, but the women@POI team is currently planning a virtual format for the autumn.
This initiative is working
The networking idea is already having an effect: “Our colleagues are exchanging information much more than before, even across projects and teams, which is of course easier when you know each other better”, notes Irmgard Gmachl. And Eveline Breitwieser-Wunderl hopes that the format will also be implemented in other parts of the Group in the future, or even as a global initiative within the Volkswagen Group.
Our Managing Directors, Manfred Immitzer and Rainer Trischak, are convinced of the importance of women@POI and have supported it from the very beginning. At the end of June, they presented the initiative with the “Special Award” at this year’s Change Award as a project with outstanding significance for our entire company.
What an inspiring initiative from and for the women of Porsche Informatik!