Deutsche Bank holds conference on women in business - and names it 'Men Matter'

Despite facing criticism, many praised the aim of the conference

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The Independent Online

Deutsche Bank has faced some criticism after it made the theme of its annual Women in Business conference 'Men Matter'.

The Women in Asian Business conference, which has been running annually for the last five years, took place on Tuesday 22 September.

The conference is an offshoot from its main Women in Business conference, which has been running for 20 years. Themes in previous years have included 'the power of authenticity', 'inspire, challenge, change', and 'beyond boundaries'.

Despite the bank's clearly positive intentions, the theme of 'Men Matter' raised some eyebrows.

One Twitter user said the theme chosen showed Deutsche Bank was "tone deaf" when it came to gender issues, with many others mocking the idea of male-orientated conference trying to examine women's problems in the workplace.

Oblivious corporate events on gender equality, which often feature all-male panels and a total lack of women speakers, are a favourite target for disdain and mockery online - however, despite the misleading title, the Men Matter conference had good intentions.

Like the HeForShe campaign, started by the United Nations and lead by actress Emma Watson, the aim was to examine the "essential contributions men can make towards levelling the playing field for women in the workplace."

Deutsche Bank's Asia Pacific head of human resources, Antonia Cowdry, explained the idea of the conference in a press release.

She said: "It may seem paradoxical for a Women in Business conference to ficus on men, but by turning out attention this year to the role they can play in improving gender diversity, we want to reach decision-makers who previously hadn't considered these issues."

"We want to convince them that they, too, stand to benefit from greater gender diversity in the workplace and to motivate them to use their influence to help deliver changes that will benefit everyone."

David Lynne, another senior head at the bank, said that the conference aimed to challenge men, and tested whether they were "willing to take the opportunity to raise [their] game."