Empowering Women: Reflecting on the Second Women’s* Empowerment Convention

Empowering Women: Reflecting on the Second Women’s* Empowerment Convention

On the 23rd of April in Münster, Germany, the second Women’s* Empowerment Convention took place, igniting discussions and fostering connections among 250 participants passionate about advancing gender equality in entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation. Organised by the University of Münster, Münster University of Applied Sciences, and the REACH – EUREGIO Start-up Centre, this convention aimed to amplify the visibility and representation of women in these critical spheres of influence. The theme of Equity, Leadership, Career & Entrepreneurship set the stage for an evening filled with interesting discussions and inspiring speeches.

Paula Menninghaus, Co-Founder of Strong Partners, opened the event by emphasizing the transformative power of networking not merely as a means to expand connections, but as a conduit for sustaining meaningful relationships. “Networking doesn’t just mean finding new contacts and engaging in dialogue, but also maintaining contacts,” she explained. Paula, alongside REACH, unveiled a comprehensive networking guide (in German, here) brimming with practical insights, paving the way for effective collaboration and support networks.

Vera Strauch, founder of the Female Leadership Academy, delivered a powerful keynote speech advocating for fairer structures in the workplace. Strauch’s feminist perspective on collaboration and leadership challenges traditional notions of power dynamics. “For good leadership, we need a form of connection. The centre is the community,” she declared, advocating for leadership characterised by respect and cooperation rather than dominance and competition. Besides, she gave valuable insight and shared a white paper (in German, here) about conducting negotiations.

The convention also featured a thought-provoking panel discussion on shaping equal opportunities through systemic and individual change. Prof. Dr. Sue Rossano-Rivero from Niederrhein University, Monja Meier, founder of EASI Control GmbH, alongside Vera Strauch, offered valuable insights into the essential role of diversity in leadership and the imperative for authenticity.  Moderated by Maike Giesbert and Dr. Elisa Franz, the discussion delved into the critical need to enhance the compatibility of family and career, unveiling areas ripe for improvement and innovation.

As we reflect on the success of the second Women’s* Empowerment Convention, it’s evident that there is still much work to be done in advancing gender equality in various professional domains. However, events like these foster dialogue, nurture networks, and bridge the gap between academia and society, and pave the way for tangible progress and lasting change.

Looking ahead, the anticipation for the next convention on April 9, 2025, is unmistakable. With each iteration, the momentum grows, propelling us closer towards a future where women are equally represented, valued, and empowered in all facets of society. Let’s continue to strive for progress, celebrate achievements, and champion the cause of gender equality together.

Note: The gender marker (*) after a word serves as a reference to the constructional nature of “gender.” “Women*,” for example, refers to all persons who define themselves, are defined, and/or see themselves made visible under the designation “woman.” (Source: FUMA)

Photos: © Gesa Niessen

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