Chapter 3 Uta’s story

I, Uta, have been on a journey in the digital world for 40 years. My professional path was in the world of men. Over time, I realized the value my feminine side brings to this masculine-dominated world. That wasn’t immediately obvious to me. I had subordinated myself to the male code in the professional world. This seemed so normal that I had divided my life into two halves. In my private life as a housewife and mother of two children, which involved playgrounds, kindergarten and baking cakes for the next school event, I lived my feminine side. I was there almost exclusively with other women and it was a lot of fun. The other half of my life revolved around the digital world. In this world I was almost only with men. I was happy about every woman who ventured into this world.

Today, every company is essentially a software company, at the latest after the pandemic. To pave the way for women in the digital age, I designed the model for Feminine Agility.

The rules of the business world were shaped by men. My generation of women is the first to have a big career. None of my female ancestors were employed in the sense that we think of it today. They all lived exclusively the side of life I described, which involved the kitchen and children. Just as I enjoyed this aspect of my life, so did my female ancestors. Just as this area alone is no longer enough for me, almost every woman today also wants to fulfill her potential in her calling in this world.

Research by Claire Zammit and Jean Houston shows that women face barriers to this desire. When I think about these blockages, I realize that I too have been looking for my way here and have to break through my resistance again and again. It would have been a relief if I had been able to draw on the experience and help of other women who have already pioneered this path. As a mother of two daughters, I would like to share these insights with other women and be a lighthouse for them. I want women to realize that female contribution is very important in the digital age.

As the only woman in the room, I felt like the last man. Even though I was paid just as well as any man and was always treated with respect, being a woman felt like a penalty that I had to compensate for with more competence. I personally didn’t see anything that I had to offer in the business world purely because of the fact that I was a woman. It felt like I was on the same level as a man with a disability. This gave me an underlying feeling of indignity. I only became aware of the gift that my feminine presence had to offer much later. Feminine power was much closer to me than to my male colleagues. Intuition and empathy are my strengths. After all, I was the first woman in the room and I never tried to be the better man.

In the 1970s I grew up in Namibia, in the deepest African bush, after my family emigrated from Germany to Africa. I have two brothers who introduced me to everything technical at an early age. When I learned to drive at the age of 12, they not only taught me how to change a tire, but also how to repair the old Jeep if you broke down so that you didn’t have to walk home through the savannah. So technology wasn’t intimidating for me and I studied computer science in Cape Town in the early 1980s. A third of my fellow students there were women. I came back to Germany and got my first job at Bosch in Stuttgart in 1984. At the welcoming event for new employees, I was the only woman among about 70 engineers. This continued in the 1990s. Women rarely appeared in software development in Europe. Since I was traveling internationally a lot as a trainer and consultant, I met a lot of Asian women in the software sector.

Only when I thought more closely about the feminine and masculine principles did I realize that we women like and have internalized the Yin qualities. These are particularly important in the digital age because software is a non-material good.

The ancient cultures of indigenous peoples, whose traditions I was able to get to know the remnants of in Africa and North America, have a balanced relationship between feminine and masculine in their customs. This also included nature and the planet as a living space. My childhood in the African savannah taught me how to deal with complex adaptive systems. In these natural ecosystems can