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International Women's Day 2022 Interview Tina Reuter International Women's Day 2022 Interview Tina Reuter

The woman is at the stove, the man earns the money – usual or exception? How does the distribution of roles between partners in Germany look? The same as in other European countries?

"What, you have kids and you're continuing in your career?" A question that is sometimes accompanied by a critical or sceptical view. And you almost certainly have a woman in mind, as the recipient of this question. Because (still) rarely is it ever addressed to a man. Tina Reuter, a top level manager at Cushman & Wakefield EMEA and mother of two, knows this situation well. "It is not uncommon for a career-oriented mother to be quickly pigeonholed as an 'absent mother'," says the Darmstadt native. "Men, on the other hand, take it for granted that they can have a child and a career." Here, the problem then shows up rather in the opposite case. If a man stays at home to take care of the children, he is often laughed at behind his back. Reuter hopes that such stereotypical views will soon disappear from our society and give room to more flexible models.

The fact that women can pursue both family and professional goals has not always been the case. At the beginning of the 20th century, they were not even allowed to vote in Germany. Only with introduction of the Reich Election Act on 12 November 1918 were they allowed to cast their votes. From the middle of the 20th century, further laws followed, which granted women more protection, self-determination and equal rights. For example, since 1958 they have had the right to manage their own assets, open their own bank account and decide for themselves whether they go to work or not. 

 
International Women's Day 2022 Interview Tina Reuter Interview Cushman Wakefield International Womens Day

“It should be up to everyone to decide which model suits them best.“

Tina Reuter

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In the past 130 years, a lot has happened enabling women to earn their own money and pursue their own career. And legal framework conditions have also been created for men enabling them to fulfil their role as fathers more adequately, such as the granting paternity leave. Nevertheless, the traditional family model is still anchored in the minds of many people. The man at the stove with a child in his arms remains rather the exception. And there is still room for improvement in terms of equality: women still earn less on average than men – not least due to long career breaks to have children – and the proportion of women in management positions is still low and is to be regulated by the introduction of a women's quota.
 
Reuter hopes that the classic roles will soon become obsolete. For them, it makes no difference whether the man, the woman or both stay at home for childcare or whether the woman, the man or both go to work. It should be up to everyone to decide which model suits them best, and no one should be prejudged via stereotypes. In her opinion, gender is not the decisive factor when filling management positions, but only the competence and potential of the employee. Of course, everyone must be given the same opportunities. "A women's quota should hopefully soon no longer be necessary and diversity should be a matter of course," says Reuter.

 

 

How does the division of roles look in other European countries?

We asked some of our colleagues.

Interview Cushman Wakefield International Womens Day Interview Cushman Wakefield International Womens Day

01 Marta from Spain

Marta Esclapes runs the Research team in Spain. She joined Cushman & Wakefield as a Research Analyst in 2005. Her daughter Maria is eleven years old and was born in July 2010, in one of the hottest ever summers in Barcelona.

 

02 Justin from United Kingdom

Justin Goring has been part of the Cushman & Wakefield team in London (UK) since 2018 as Global Social Business Lead. His daughter is three years old and his son is one year old.

 

03 Ciska from Netherlands

Ciska de Best works as a Personal Assistant / Business Assistant EMEA Capital Markets in the Netherlands and has been with Cushman & Wakefield for over 20 years. Ciska has two daughters: the older is 29 and soon to qualify as a gynaecologist, the younger is 26 and a police officer. 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH MARTA

Traditional or modern - what is the typical distribution of roles within a Spanish family?
Fortunately we have witnessed an extraordinary evolution of the concept of family in our country, It has not been an easy road, although we are getting closer to the ideal framework of normality and social tolerance. The convergence of fundamentally socio-economic factors, together with profound cultural and ideological transformation, has resulted in the decline of the family model that we could call traditional, based on the clear division of roles and tasks between the spouses - the man of the house working and earning wages and the woman devoted to housework and childcare - to give way to a whole plethora of family structures. In this way, along with the traditional model of married couples with biological children, we find families without children, families with adopted kids, families made up of couples without a marriage bond or by same-sex couples, as well as single-parent, reconstructed or transnational families.  

What framework conditions does the state create in Spain so that women and men can reconcile a career and children? 
In my opinion there’s still a lot to do concerning state help. Although a recent modification in the law now allows paternity leave of up to 16 weeks to equate this to maternity leave and there are reductions of working hours to allow for breastfeeding, assistance of 100 euros/month for working mothers (deduction for maternity), deduction for large families… I have the feeling that true reconciliation can only be achieved if the company you are working for offers you flexibility and comfort around the decisions you make.    

Full-time mother? Full-time position? How did you and your husband/partner organise childcare and everyday responsibilities and why did you choose this model? 
When Maria arrived in our lives she became the most important thing and the “project” in which we planned to invest our time and effort. 

The easy way would have been to have two of the most wonderful grandmothers in the world taking care of her during the time we were working, but missing this time with her would have been crazy, so, both my partner and I agreed that time with Maria had to come first. My partner is a nurse and she had the chance to shorten her 8-hour day. I chose to reduce my daily working hours down to 5 to be able to spend every afternoon with them. I remember my days in the office very focused on work and deadlines coupled with very brief breaks for a coffee with colleagues, but now that the years have passed I see the time we have dedicated to this little 11-year-old person has modelled her way of understanding life and what is important and what isn’t. The combination of a few hours in the nursery (since she was 6 months old) and the dedication of our time was our chosen option and it worked out pretty well for us. 

How does Cushman & Wakefield as your employer support you in balancing work and family life?
As I mentioned before “real reconciliation can only be achieved if the company you are working for offers you flexibility and comfort around the decisions you make”. This is the case in my experience at C&W. From the day I informed my manager that I was pregnant until now I have felt safe in my position and in fact my career progress and my growth within the company came after becoming a mum, not before.  

What tips do you have for new mums and dads on the subject of "children and career"? 
Although sometimes you might feel a little bit like a tightrope walker, looking for that balance, trying to be a good mum/dad and a great professional, I can say that becoming a mum gave me what I needed to grow as a person but also as a professional in my field at Cushman & Wakefield. Don’t be afraid! Do not give up either of the two things if that is what you want, Cushman & Wakefield is the right place to achieve both!

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH justin

Traditional or modern - what is the typical distribution of roles within an English family?
In our family, we have a fairly normal and equal distribution of roles. In my life, both my biological and stepfather would always do the cooking and so I have always taken a lead in making our meals from scratch. Although my wife is fantastic at baking!

She tends to do all the washing, and I tend to do all the house maintenance. I put the kids to bed and take them to nursery in the morning. We have a dishwasher that we both load and unload! I look forward to the day our children can do some of these things with us. I feel strongly that my daughter and son should grow up with the confidence to fix items and maintain the home, change fuses, wire plugs, fill holes etc.

I feel like the stereotypes of the division of labour has changed. We see it in our advertising. But I still think that there is an inherent bias toward the male as worker and female as a carer. It’s hugely important to change this and champion this change for those that seek more opportunities. Because unless we have diversity in our workplace, and diversity in our childcare, we lose the chance to bring new diverse ideas that can make the world a better place (or at least allow our businesses to operate more efficiently).

I don’t know if the way I feel is typical of others, but I hope it is.

What framework conditions does the state create in UK so that women and men can reconcile a career and children? 
Maternity/Paternity leave is protected to allow 1 year away from work. This is flexible and can be shared between the parents. Unfortunately, this is not full pay, it just entitles you to keep your job over that time. The government also pays for 30 hours of child care a month and offers some discounts for child care if you pay money into a government bank.

Full-time father? Full-time position? How did you and your wife/partner organise childcare and everyday responsibilities and why did you choose this model?
My partner and I share the work/childcare responsibilities. We are full-time professional workers.

This is a choice in terms of career and interests. But it’s also required to pay for childcare which is extremely expensive in the UK. We currently pay around 3,000 GBP per month for childcare. This means that one of us essentially doesn’t get paid as all our costs go to childcare!

How does Cushman & Wakefield as your employer support you in balancing work and family life?
Cushman & Wakefield provide a flexible and agile working environment that measures my role based on performance and output, rather than the length of time I work and where I do that work. 

This allows me to start early, break, get the kids to childcare, come back and work through to the evening, then break again for some hours to eat with the children and play and get them to bed; and finally, where needed, I can work again. 
When I need extra time to get to the shops for items or other essential things, I can confidently take that time, knowing that I will make the time up another day. As my role is ‘Global’ I work with people from all over the world, in different time zones, so working from home the majority of the time, and at odd times of the day (or night) suits my family life perfectly.

What tips do you have for new mums and dads on the subject of "children and career"? 
Ensure you have a manager that understands your needs and how you want to parent as well as work. A great way to approach how you might work going forward is to trial what I like to call an ‘80/150 ratio’; where you aim to increase your productivity to 50% more than current expectations, but in 20% less than the time you are currently taking to do it. That might sound like you are taking on more work at a time when your life is about to get so super busy. But in fact, just by tweaking your day a little and paying attention to the best, most productive times for you, so you can increase your productivity, but have more time with the family. Perhaps even more important than anything else… never forget that family comes first.

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH ciska

Traditional or modern - what is the typical distribution of roles within a Dutch family?
Dutch people are known for their exploring, adventurous, inventive and modern way of acting and living. However the distribution of roles within families was very traditional until about three decades ago when mothers also started to work. I raised my children in the 90´s in France where more women were working, thus the infrastructure of day care was better implemented. But for me it was really odd to bring my 3-month-old baby to a so-called crèche. 

What framework conditions does the state create in UK so that women and men can reconcile a career and children? 
Although the employment rate of women is good (from a European perspective), it is mostly part time. The government wants to increase the economic and financial independence of women and make it easier to combine work and care. Both for men and women. For example, by encouraging companies to make agreements about flexible working hours. By extending leave schemes or by making a financial contribution towards the costs of childcare. 

Full-time father? Full-time position? How did you and your wife/partner organise childcare and everyday responsibilities and why did you choose this model?
I have always worked full time and in addition, have also always travelled a few times a year for my job. When living in France, I used to take my children to my parents in the Netherlands when working in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands. When it was elsewhere, their French grandparents or friends would take care of them. On a daily basis, their father, who worked shifts, was very often at home so we only had to use the day care facilities once in a while.

How does Cushman & Wakefield as your employer support you in balancing work and family life?
I believe I was the first employee to work from home in 2002 so as to be closer to my father who was very ill and needed a lot of care. I was very anxious requesting this `favour´ but fortunately it was easily accepted and the outcome for all parties was that it is absolutely possible to combine work and family life. But we all know that by now. 😉

What tips do you have for new mums and dads on the subject of "children and career"? 
Strive for equality on all levels: care, job rate, salary, housekeeping, … It creates mutual respect and, without being a feminist, there is no reason why not to do this.

  

Making traditional roles obsolete?

Verena Bauer • 08/03/2022

The woman is at the stove, the man earns the money – usual or exception? How does the distribution of roles between partners in Germany look? The same as in other European countries?

"What, you have kids and you're continuing in your career?" A question that is sometimes accompanied by a critical or sceptical view. And you almost certainly have a woman in mind, as the recipient of this question. Because (still) rarely is it ever addressed to a man. Tina Reuter, a top level manager at Cushman & Wakefield EMEA and mother of two, knows this situation well. "It is not uncommon for a career-oriented mother to be quickly pigeonholed as an 'absent mother'," says the Darmstadt native. "Men, on the other hand, take it for granted that they can have a child and a career." Here, the problem then shows up rather in the opposite case. If a man stays at home to take care of the children, he is often laughed at behind his back. Reuter hopes that such stereotypical views will soon disappear from our society and give room to more flexible models.

The fact that women can pursue both family and professional goals has not always been the case. At the beginning of the 20th century, they were not even allowed to vote in Germany. Only with introduction of the Reich Election Act on 12 November 1918 were they allowed to cast their votes. From the middle of the 20th century, further laws followed, which granted women more protection, self-determination and equal rights. For example, since 1958 they have had the right to manage their own assets, open their own bank account and decide for themselves whether they go to work or not. 

 

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