My aim: Human-centered technology

I am convinced that international teams, made up of men and women with different types of experience and professional backgrounds, achieve the best results. For such diverse teams, the keys to success include working joyfully toward a common goal, accepting and understanding different perspectives, and showing respect and empathy for all members of the team.


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‘This is not for girls!’ – This was the first sentence I heard in the computer science club when I asked which game the boys were playing together. What a shame, because in addition to many great experiences and friendships, a professional career has even emerged from this passion. It’s a dream of mine if young girls simply didn’t have to hear this statement anymore.

Technology is women’s business. There are so many talented people out there, and so much of their talent is going to waste. Even though all people have the same kinds of brains, women still find it hard to gain a real foothold in technical professions. Nonetheless, women should stay open to such professions, because they are gateways to fascinating worlds.

We welcome anyone! Deutsche Telekom’s employees are a diverse group – also apart from any aspects of gender identity and sexual orientation. In the interest of upholding and communicating these values, we at MagentaPride are working, throughout the entire Deutsche Telekom Group, to represent the LGBTQ community’s interests, promote its visibility, and ensure that it enjoys equal treatment.

Mom, can men become chancellor, too?

Angela Merkel governed for 16 years in Germany. Since 2019, the President of the EU Commission has been a woman – Ursula von der Leyen. And Kamala Harris, a woman, now holds the second-highest office of the United States – that of Vice President. So, has gender equality become a real fact of life?

Companies that reduce discrimination and promote equal opportunity are more successful. This was a finding of the 2020 McKinsey study “Diversity Wins – How Inclusion Matters.” Diverse teams, so the study, achieve results that are better by a factor of up to 36%.

“We won’t stop until everyone is connected.”

Diversity enriches us at Deutsche Telekom; it does wonders for our vitality and viability as an orga­ni­za­tion. We promote and demand personal and cultural diversity in its many facets for a better society: it is about gender and gender identity, age, ethnic background and nationality, disability, religion and ide­o­lo­gy, sexual orientation and sexual identity. Our shared vision of “we won’t stop until everyone is connected” stands for diversity and inclusion – in both our company and our society. This is also shown by the awards we received for our commitment to more diversity in 2021. For example, we were listed first in the Boston Consulting Croup’s Gender Diversity Index and were again certified with the “eg-check” label for fair remuneration. T-Mobile US was listed as one of the best employers in the field of diversity with the reputable Forbes award.

Diversity enriches us at Deutsche Telekom; it does wonders for our vitality and viability as an orga­ni­za­tion. We promote and demand personal and cultural diversity in its many facets for a better society: it is about gender and gender identity, age, ethnic background and nationality, disability, religion and ide­o­lo­gy, sexual orientation and sexual identity.

Our shared vision of “we won’t stop until everyone is connected” stands for diversity and inclusion – in both our company and our society. This is also shown by the awards we received for our commitment to more diversity in 2021. For example, we were listed first in the Boston Consulting Croup’s Gender Diversity Index and were again certified with the “eg-check” label for fair remuneration. T-Mobile US was listed as one of the best employers in the field of diversity with the reputable Forbes award.

30 years of gender equality and diversity at Deutsche Telekom

Some 30 years ago, Deutsche Telekom’s Board of Management approved a special equal-opportunity plan aimed at improving opportunities for women within the company. Ten years later, we adopted a Group works agreement that enshrined Group objectives for equal opportunity/treatment for men and women. And with our Diversity Policy we commit ourselves to promoting equal opportunities for all persons. Diversity is therefore an integral part of our corporate culture and our fundamental values.


Heli Ihlefeld-Bolesch lays the foundation for equality and diversity management at Deutsche Telekom. Following Deutsche Telekom’s demerger from the Federal Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication, she becomes head of the Equality department.

About one third of Deutsche Telekom’s employees are women. The Deutsche Telekom Board of Management adopts a concept for the advancement of women, with a view to improving opportunities for women at the company.

We want more women to go into technical professions. With this aim in mind, and in cooperation with the German Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology, and the Federal Employment Agency, we launch the initiative “Women giving new impetus to technology”

In the interest of employees’ work-life balance, and their overall job satisfaction, Deutsche Telekom and the German Posts and Telecommunications Trade Union (Deutsche Postgewerkschaft) sign a first collective agreement on “alternating telecommuting.”

Nationwide, Deutsche Telekom has a total of 31 equal opportunity commissioners. Working in a voluntary capacity, the commissioners promote equal opportunity in each of the company’s organizational units.

“E-Quality” teams, in the company’s organizational units, bring together management, works councils, equal opportunity commissioners, and women’s representatives for efforts to ensure that the company’s concept for the advancement of women is properly implemented.

A “women’s promotion prize” is awarded to projects that promote equal opportunity within our company. The large numbers of submitted projects show how many employees nationwide are committed to promoting equal opportunity.

Deutsche Telekom receives the “Total E-Quality” award for the first time, in recognition of its successful, ongoing commitment to gender equality in the workplace.

Do these images come to mind? – Men are active, self-assured and ambitious, while women are understanding, tender, and socially oriented? So, do managers need to “be like men”? No. Our “Fair bringt mehr” (“Fair gets you somewhere”) training program helps people eliminate biases.

Deutsche Telekom has a wide and rich range of programs aimed at promoting equal opportunity for women, including efforts in the areas of self-coaching; and training and qualification measures carried out alongside regular employment – such as measures on time- and conflict management, confident behavior and dealing with bullying/harassment.

“Women go online”: Our “Women - Fresh Stimulus for Technology” initiative, working in cooperation with “Brigitte” magazine and various computer schools for women, offers free internet training courses at over 100 locations, all with the aim of enabling women to account for 50 percent of online users.

Our first mentoring program is up and running. Each instance of mentoring entails a two-year professional partnership, between the mentor and the mentee, in which the learning is a two-way street. A network of highly qualified women and high-ranking female managers is established.

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Childcare services have to meet the needs of working parents. Deutsche Telekom’s first childcare facility opens, in Munich. In it, two groups of Deutsche Telekom employees care for children as young as two years. Additional company childcare services are then phased in on an ongoing basis.

Employees’ networks are expressions of living corporate culture. Nationwide, various women’s networks are active. The company’s network for LGBTQ employees is founded in 2002.

Dr. Heinz Klinkhammer, Board Member for Human Resources, launches the company’s “work & life balance” project, which is aimed at helping employees juggle their own professional and private interests with the company’s operational requirements.

On a nationwide basis, the company introduces a free service for employees that provides advising on nearby childcare and nursing-care services. The service also offers emergency childcare services.

A Group works agreement on equal treatment and equal opportunity is signed, with the aim of implementing gender mainstreaming and promoting gender equality throughout the Group.

In 2005, Maud Pagel guides the Group’s adoption of a Diversity Policy. With the new policy, Deutsche Telekom becomes one of the very first German companies to formally adopt diversity principles. Pagel is also a co-initiator of the Group’s Diversity Charter.

A Family Fund provides support, nationwide, for projects that help improve employees’ work-life balance. All company employees are eligible to submit applications, to the Fund, for family-friendly measures.

More and more women are playing key roles at the company and in the policymaking sphere. A total of 900 female leaders, from around the world, meet in Berlin for a Global Summit of Women. Deutsche Telekom sponsors the pertinent Global Women’s Leadership Awards.

Under the auspices of CEO René Obermann, the “Heimspiel” (“home game”) network is founded. Its goal is to give fathers in the Group additional leeway to balance work and family responsibilities.

We are honored with the Max Spohr Prize. The prize is awarded to employers who implement diversity management in a comprehensive way – especially by means of instruments for promoting a key dimension, “sexual and gender identity.”

We want to inspire girls to take an interest in professions that are typically seen as being “for men.” On Girls’ Day, we invite girls in grades five through ten for open houses in which we present technical professions in the IT and telecommunications industry.

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We become the first DAX-30 company to adopt a women’s quota. Thomas Sattelberger, Board Member for Human Resources: “The women’s quota is helping to get people talking about what leadership really means – and that is good. Uncertainty is the beginning of change.”

René Obermann appoints women to the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management. Claudia Nemat, the first woman on the Board, assumes responsibility for the company’s European operations. In the following year, another woman comes aboard, as Board Member for Human Resources.

Women are still underrepresented in STEM* fields. We want to highlight outstanding role models and inspire more women to enter STEM professions. This is why we have begun awarding a Women’s STEM Award, for outstanding final papers/theses written by women graduates.
*Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Every day, each of us makes thousands of decisions, most of which are unconscious ones. And many decisions result from bias, which can easily lead to errors. In order to raise awareness about bias, on the part of company employees, we launch a worldwide Group communication campaign on unconscious thought patterns.

In the DAX-30 group of companies, we are a leader in employing people with disabilities. Our new action plan “Inklusion@DT” is aimed at eliminating prejudice and resistance, and at helping to make an inclusive workplace a reality.

Results are what counts for us. In many areas of business, where and when our employees work is not a key issue. With this in mind, we sign a collective agreement on mobile working with ver.di, the United Services Trade Union.

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Dominique Leroy is the third woman to join the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management. With her arrival, women now make up 37.5 percent of the Board’s members, making us the leader in this category among DAX-30 companies.

Our Board of Management has proclaimed March “Diversity Month.” With this move, we want to send out a common message and raise awareness about solidarity, diversity, and for a Deutsche Telekom that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

“Yuo cna raed thsi, btu the gender* star slsow you down?” Our editorial guide for corporate communication provides tips on how to use gender-neutral language.

Standing up against discrimination: Our employees’ network MagentaPride, in cooperation with the PrOut@Work Foundation, launches a Group-wide social media campaign to raise awareness about discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

T-Mobile US establishes a Diversity and Inclusion Council that brings together representatives of six major American civil rights organizations. The Council is helping T-Mobile US to design and implement a strategic diversity plan.

Via our initiative #equalesports, we are promoting diversity in the esports and gaming sectors, and encouraging women to participate in recreational and professional esports.

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And we won’t be satisfied until everyone can #TAKEPART. This aim also stands for diversity and inclusion. With our revised Diversity Policy, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” we want to promote a “culture of belonging.”

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Connected As One
Connected As One

With the “Connected As One” communications campaign, we bring the Diversity Policy to life. Because we are one team - with all our differences.

Women at the top!

Upon graduation from high school, girls tend to have better grade averages than boys do. Women are still underrepresented at the top management levels of companies, however. In 2010, we became the first company in the DAX 30 index (comprising 30 of Germany’s largest companies) to introduce a women’s quota. With that move, we significantly boosted Germany’s impetus for promotion of opportunities for women. Our goal in this regard is to increase the percentage of women in Deutsche Telekom’s manage­ment positions worldwide to 30 %. Since that quota was introduced, many of our top management positions have been filled by women, and women now make up about one-third of our employees. As of the end of 2021, women held 27.3 percent of our mid-level and upper-level management positions, 45 percent of our Super­visory Board of the Group positions, and a full 37.5 percent – a higher percentage than at any other DAX 30 company – of our Board of Management positions.

To achieve our goal, we have implemented a broad range of measures. For example, we now ensure that at least 30 percent of all participants in our executive-deve­lop­ment programs, and at least 30 percent of all short-list candidates for our top executive positions, are women. In addition, we offer women special mentoring programs, flexible working hours and a right of return from part-time to full-time work. In 2021, we once again improved our score in the “Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index” (GEI). Deutsche Telekom’s good performance in the area of gender equality has been reflected in the GEI, a global, cross-sectoral index, since 2018.

Parental leave with no career breaks

Parental leave should not result in career breaks. Our mentoring program for experts and managers helps employees in Germany continue to develop professionally during and after a period of parental leave. Mentees interact closely with an experienced manager and receive professional training in areas such as self-marketing. And the program’s aims include increasing the numbers of women in the company’s management positions.

Let’s see those role models: A special STEM award for women

It is a fact that fewer women than men opt for training and/or degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). According to the spring 2021 STEM report (MINT-Frühjahrsreport 2021) of the German Economic Institute (IW), women account for about 15 percent of all persons working in STEM professions. For eight years now, we have awarded annual “Women’s STEM Awards” that honor outstanding theses / final papers written by female students and university graduates. The overall aims of the award program are to highlight outstanding role models and – most importantly – to inspire more women to enter STEM fields. In 2021, 160 female graduates, from a total of 25 different countries, competed for the grand prize. It was won by Hira Siddiqui, who has been part of the team at T-Systems MMS, a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, ever since her gra­du­a­tion. The special prize for a scientifically outstanding paper produced under difficult conditions went to Chathurangi Ahangama from Sri Lanka.

Equal pay for equal work

According to the “Global Sports Salaries” survey of the website, women playing in the Women’s Bundesliga, Germany’s top-division soccer league for female players, earned an average of 37 250 euros in 2018 – while the men playing in the men’s Bundesliga (1st Bundesliga) earned an average of 1.4 million euros. While such enormous discrepancies between men’s and women’s salaries tend to be the exception, it remains true that many professions do not offer equal pay for men and women, as a 2019 study by the website Glassdoor found: On average in 2018, women’s salaries in Germany and the U.S. were about five to six percent below men’s salaries, for comparable qualifications and job descriptions.

At Deutsche Telekom, the “equal pay for equal work” principle applies. Salaries at the company are based solely on the type of work being performed. Aspects such as gender, ethnic background, and sexual orientation do not factor in at all. In 2021, we received the “equal-pay check” (“eg-check”) certificate of the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency for a second time. The certificate process analyzes and highlights men’s and women’s salaries for work that is comparable or of equal value.

In 2020, the national company Magyar Telekom carried out a complex analysis of the salary discrepancies prevailing within its organization. That effort led to the development of an action plan for reducing salary inequalities, especially those resulting from career gaps of mothers. Also, and since 2020, short lists of candidates for the company’s management positions always have to include at least two qualified women.

Work models: Sometimes less is more

Balance, instead of chaos

We also offer a range of other options, in addition to our work models, aimed at promoting equal oppor­tu­nity and helping our employees find the right balance between their private and working lives.
Here are a few examples:


2Counseling with regard to care needs

3Assistance in finding household help

You’re less alone when someone else is in the same boat

Moving forward with inclusion

Every person is a unique individual, and every person has something valuable to contribute to society. More than seven percent of our employees in Germany are disabled. With the help of an action plan, we are promoting inclusion, through­out the Group, in our apprenticeship and qualification programs, and through efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to participate equally in the workplace. As part of this focus, we offer such assistance as individualized counseling, special IT support, modified workplace equipment, and sign language translation. In 2021, our Group Repre­sen­ta­tives for the Disabled once again awarded an “Inclusion Award” for pertinent efforts made within the company. The Inclusion Award honors internal company projects for support of employees with disabilities, including support oriented to job retention.

Yes, women are game for gaming

The Equal eSports Festival – ushering in a new generation

The Equal eSports Festival, held in October 2021, was a first important milestone for our initiative’s efforts to promote equal oppor­tunity and tolerance in esports. Visitors at that event – either on location in Berlin or via Twitch live stream – enjoyed inspiring workshops, engrossing panel discussions and show matches featuring world-class players.

No room for hate speech

Zero tolerance for discrimination

No person is completely free of bias. Our biases influence our perception, value judgements and actions. And they often do so without our awareness. A remark that we blurt out without thinking can hurt someone. This is because thought­less remarks can reflect prejudices that work to discriminate and marginalize. Via an internal communication campaign, we are helping to make our em­ploy­ees aware of how unconscious biases secretly influence our decisions – and of how biases can be overcome.

We have no tolerance for discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional. Unfortunately, our employees often face discrimination, threats of violence, bullying and sexual harassment – in the office, on our hotlines, in our Telekom Shops and during customer appointments. Our Threat Management team immediately – and confidentially – looks into all such cases. As necessary, the team cooperates with a network of external specialists, including the HR de­part­ment, our employee repre­sen­ta­tives, the police, and women’s shelters. All em­ploy­ees are free to contact the Threat Management team directly as necessary.

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