Expertise on the Government's Digitalisation Equality Report: Professor Thomas Gegenhuber is co-author

2021-02-24 In January 2021, Federal Minister Franziska Giffey received the expert report "Digitalisation geschlechtergerecht gestalten" from the expert comission for the Third Equality Report. Thomas Gegenhuber, junior professor of business administration with a focus on digital transformation, is a member of the expert commission as an expert on business administration issues. His work in the report focused primarily on the topic of "digitalisation-related entrepreneurship".

Opening Week ©Marvin Sokolis
Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber in the live studio during the Opening Week 2020.

Apps, digital platforms, artificial intelligence, service robotics - many start-ups use digital technologies to create innovative business models. "Surveys show that only about 15.7% of German start-ups are founded by women. Digital entrepreneurship is building the economy of the future. If we want to make it gender equitable, we urgently need to increase the share of women”, claims Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber.  

What role do gender inequalities play in start-ups? The report shows which structural barriers cause an unbalanced gender ratio in the digital start-up scene. These include poor social security for solo self-employed people, the influence of gender stereotypes and a lack of opportunities to reconcile work and family life. Start-up capital is also not equally accessible to everyone: men are more likely to receive funding from venture capital, private investors and even government funding than women. Yet according to international studies, it is women who are the more financially sustainable founders. 

At the end of each chapter, the experts make concrete recommendations for action to the federal government. One demand aims to improve access to start-up capital: "The proportion of women in the decision-making bodies that decide on venture capital and funding must be increased. The Expert Commission therefore recommends mandatory parity in the composition of public funding programmes and, as a first step, a voluntary commitment in private programmes", explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber.  

With regard to changing the male-dominated role image of "entrepreneurship", Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber also sees the universities as having a duty: "When we invite entrepreneurs as lecturers or organise discussions at the university, we as teachers must ensure that we invite women as well as men. We also have to pay attention to diversity when it comes to best practice examples in teaching."

Equality reports present an empirical inventory of the status of equality and make recommendations on how identified imbalances can be remedied. With its report, the expert commission makes an important contribution to the Third Equality Report of the Federal Government. This report is particularly concerned with the question of what course needs to be set in order to shape developments in the digital economy and society in such a way that women and men have equal opportunities for realisation.