Danja Frech, Head of Diversity for adidas, Germany, weighs in on the biggest issues for global diversity in 2012 at the sports retail giant.

What are the specific focus points you have for global diversity in the coming year?
Our main focus is to continue integrating Diversity in everything we do rather than making it a new or separate strategy. We consider this a value in all we do. This said, we will continue with many activities we already started that supports Diversity in all aspects, e.g. daycare centers in Germany and the U.S., health and fitness activities, sports and events, flexible work models (sabbaticals, part-time, home office, etc.) and specific Diversity events. adidas creates a work environment for all employees which supports the integration of work and life in different life cycles.

Why is gender a specific focus for German companies right now?
It’s been a topic for many years, but unfortunately we have not truly seen great improvements in the gender balance of big German companies. Germany still ranks lowest when it comes to percentages of female leaders and the idea of implementing quotas for women in supervisory and executive boards of companies is currently being discussed. In 2011 adidas worked together with all other companies listed in the DAX-30 to review the unique challenges of the different companies, what commitments can be made for the future and what support we need from the politicians in Germany to change the picture. We all agree that gender balance is very important on all levels of the organization, but we still have some work to do when it comes to allowing families to balance work and life and to allow both partners to stay in the workplace.