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Interview with Karin Bäck

"Like many women who fail at the glass ceiling, I went into business for myself."

Our alumna Karin Bäck (Dipl.-Kfm) is chairman of "Career-Women in Motion" as well as founder of the network "PepperMINT". Both organizations have made the promotion of female careers their program. We spoke with Ms. Bäck about "Women Empowerment" and "Strong Women". She also gave our students valuable tips.


Dear Mrs. Bäck, you have made "Women Empowerment" your motto. How did this come about and what does "Women Empowerment" mean to you?

I was employed for many years in the IT industry in middle management without a chance to advance in a male-dominated industry without "vitamin B". Like many women who fail at the glass ceiling, I went into business for myself.  My agency Euroart Marketing & PR was commissioned to interview women in the Cologne-Bonn region for Business-on-Power.  I conducted 35 interviews and that's when the idea for the portal came up, with the aim of offering women valuable career information. This is how the PepperMINT project came about. The target group is industrial companies and service providers and their female employees, whose leadership potential we "sharpen" with cross-mentoring and leadership seminars. Over 40 women have now successfully participated. They are enthusiastic because they have gained a great deal of self-confidence and entrepreneurial recognition with PepperMINT.

It is still an issue today that women in Germany earn less with the same qualifications and the same work. Why is that so? What do you think must happen so that it is no longer an issue?

Why? There are many reasons. But I hope that the new law on salary comparison will lead to equal pay.


I hope that the new salary comparison law leads to equal pay.

Who has inspired and/or supported you on your life and career path?


Friends, colleagues and bosses.

Are women good networkers?

In principle, yes, but less so in terms of using networks for their career. And this is where professional associations, sports clubs, political parties, etc. come in.



When is a woman a "strong woman"?

A strong woman knows what she wants and uses her strengths confidently.


Why are there still so few women in management positions in Germany? What keeps them from advancement, where do you see the challenges and obstacles?

Parents, spouses or life partners* and companies are challenged in terms of balancing career and family. This could strengthen women's self-confidence in their leadership skills.


Please complete the sentence: When I think back to my time as a student in Cologne, I think of...

...great professors like Erwin Grochla, Richard Köhler, Norbert Szyperski.



Photo: / Maklay62


What would you like to give our students in general? And what are your three tips for our students?

Tips: Choose your major fields of study specifically, use semester breaks for internships, plan a semester abroad, sound out your doctorate in good time

Many thanks for the interview!