Women* continue to be severely underrepresented in the German economy, including in the digital, media, and creative industries. Moreover, the number of women on supervisory boards, executive boards, and in management positions remains very low. The same is true for the number of female startup founders, investors, and entrepreneurs. Finally, women are still frequently absent from stages and screens—on, in front of, and behind them. At the same time, Berlin has the highest number of initiatives in Germany dedicated to women in business—and these numbers are rapidly growing.
A note on the use of gender-inclusive language:
*The gender asterisk refers to the constructional nature of "gender."
Women* refers to all persons who identify as female*. Women* have different bodies and identify as e.g. trans, cis, or inter. Non-binary gender identities and forms of desire are explicitly included.
The Participation of Women in Numbers
In recent years, the participation of women has increased only slowly, and in some areas, it has even stagnated:
- Share of female startup founders Germany-wide (2020): 15.7 %.
- The proportion of women founding small businesses (Existenzgründungen) Germany-wide (July 2020): 36 %
- The proportion of women in business startups (Gewerbeneugründungen) in Berlin (2019): 28 %
- The proportion of female students in STEM subjects nationwide (2019/20): 31.4 %
- The proportion of women in the IT sector Germany-wide (January 2020): 16 %
- Women-led medium-sized companies (March 2021): 16.8 %
- Share of women on German executive boards (December 2020): 10 %
- The proportion of women on German supervisory boards (September 2020): 32 %
Promoting Women in the Digital, Media, and Creative Industries in Berlin
Projekt Zukunft has been committed to supporting women in the tech industries, enhancing their visibility, and fostering their networks. Measures include information campaigns and stocktaking, roundtables for Berlin women's initiatives, panel discussions, networking, and startup pitches, e.g. at Tech Open Air, Wear It Live and female.vision Summit. Finally, start-up funding, e.g. for the Womenize! Games & Tech platform, completes the list of important measures.
Since 2001, the Economic Administration has offered a regular exchange platform with the Berlin Women Entrepreneurs Day and the recently launched Women Entrepreneurs Academy. Since 2004, the "Berlin Women Entrepreneurs of the Year" award has honored dedicated women who act as role models for female entrepreneurship.
The incubation support program Berlin Startup Scholarship expanded its focus areas in 2021 to include "Women in Tech." The expansion of Berlin's funding programs to include companies in the social economy in October 2018 also implicitly contributes to the support of significantly more women-led innovation projects. Women disproportionately found businesses in social sectors. The economic administration also supports female startup founders in connecting and networking internationally with the projects Female Entrepreneurship in Berlin and India and AsiaBerlin, among others.
Further offers by the State of Berlin:
- Gründen in Berlin -- Information platform on starting a business in Berlin, information can be displayed based on offers and contact points for women
- Gründerinnenzentrale - Initial contact point for women founders in Berlin
- WeiberWirtschaft - Center for women entrepreneurs in Berlin
- UCW - Unternehmerinnen Centrum West with a focus on creative industries
- Berufsperspektiven für Frauen - Berlin Consulting Network for Women on Career and Education
- Berlin Startup Scholarship - Accelerator programs, e.g. for Women in Tech
- Further business development programs by the State of Berlin
- Funding programs by the Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality to support consulting services for women founders, professional training (e.g. on IT, media skills, digitalization), and professional skills analyses, orientation and qualification courses for women, especially in areas in which women are underrepresented (e.g. tech, MINT, crafts).
Initiatives for Women in Berlin
Around 170 initiatives are currently active in Berlin. They focus on the digital, media, and creative industries and work to increase the visibility, networking, empowerment, and professionalization of women. The rapidly growing number and variety of offerings in recent years underline the high demand: The number of these initiatives has increased almost sixfold since the first stocktaking in 2016. At the same time, the offerings have become significantly more differentiated.
By now, in addition to networks, mentoring programs, startup centers, and advocacy groups for women; women-specific co-working spaces, accelerator programs, programming schools, leadership training, job exchanges, online magazines, event platforms, competitions, investment offerings, and offerings with a specific industry focus, including for women in music, fashion, blockchain, AI, FinTech, or the film industry, exist. Some initiatives now also include other diversity dimensions and specifically address, for example, women with migration biographies, people of color, and LGBTQI*.
The current stocktaking (2021) is available as a filterable overview (in German), as a PDF for download (in German), and as a landscape in the Berlin Startup Map. It lists all initiatives by and for women in Berlin that we are currently aware of. The list primarily includes initiatives that are active or based in Berlin, address the topics of the digital, media, and creative industries, startup scene, or founding, and whose activities are aimed at the professional empowerment of women and their economic situation. With this overview, the state initiative Projekt Zukunft helps interested parties find suitable providers, activities, and networks.
The list is continuously curated and expanded. We are happy to include new or missing initiatives that meet the above criteria to enhance their visibility as well. Simply send us your details using the following entry form.
Events in Berlin
In Berlin, numerous conferences, networking events, workshops, meet-ups, and Lean-In Circles with a focus on women empowerment take place. Larger, regularly scheduled events include:
- Berlin Feminist Film Week
- Berliner Unternehmerinnentag
- Female Filmmakers Festival
- Female Future Force Day
- Female Vision Summit
- Global Female Leaders
- Womenize! Games & Tech
- Wundernova Summer- and Thinkfest
- Overview: Berlin: Women Empowerment – Initiatives for Women in the Digital, Media, and Creative Industries in Berlin, Projekt Zukunft (2021)
- Overview: Female Founded Startups and Scaleups in Berlin, Startup Map Berlin by SenWiEnBe
- Survey: Female Founders Monitor 2020, Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V. (2020)
- Report: Gründerinnen-Nation Deutschland?, Handelsblatt Research Institute and Google for Startups (2021)
- Information on Women Entrepreneurs in Berlin, Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises
- Survey: Women in Tech 2020, eco - Association of the Internet Industry
- Analysis of the Digital Gender Gap: Digital Gender Gap – Lagebild zu Gender(un)gleichheiten in der digitalisierten Welt, Initiative D21 (2019/2020)
- Report: The Third Gender Equality Report, Independent Expert Commission for the Third Gender Equality Report (2021)
- Analysis of the diversity in media: medien.barometer 2019/20 on the subject of diversity, media:net berlinbrandenburg (2020)
- Report on women and men in the cultural industries: Frauen und Männer im Kulturmarkt, Deutscher Kulturrat (2020)
- Report on women and men in media: Frauen in Kultur und Medien, Deutscher Kulturrat (2016)
- Survey on the situation of Berlin artists and the gender gap: Studio Berlin III – Situation Berliner Künstler*innen und Gender Gap, IFSE (May 2018)
- Report on the diversity among movie directors: 6. Regie-Diversitätsbericht für das Jahr 2018 – Gender Analysis of Directing Practices in German TV Programming and Feature Films, Bundesverband Regie (2020)
- Survey: GENDER AND FILM GENDER AND TELEVISION Parameters and Causes of the Gender Distribution of Film and Television Professionals in Key Positions in Germany, German Film Funding Institution (2017)
Gender Diversity & Leadership:
- Information on the Gender Equality Policy Framework (GPR) of the State of Berlin
- Information on Equality in the Workplace
- Statistics: Gender Data Report Berlin 2019, Statistik Berlin Brandenburg, Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality
- Survey: Gender Diversity Index 2020, Boston Consulting Group (2020)
- Report: Germany’s Special Path: The share of Women on DAX executive boards declines during the crisis, Allbright Stiftung (2020)
- Analysis of the impact Covid-19 has on the development of the women’s quota on German SMEs: Economics in Brief March 2021: Frauenquote im Mittelstand entwickelt sich in der Corona-Krise nur schleppend, KfW Research (2021)
- Comparative survey on women in top management bodies of public companies: Frauen in Top-Managementorganen öffentlicher Unternehmen – ein deutschlandweiter Städtevergleich, FIT Public Management Survey (2020)