Female Leadership at WHU

Business network of successful women.

Can we live in a world in which everyone has equal opportunities to take on responsibility in leading roles?

We at WHU seek to contribute to answering this question with yes. We offer meaningful and evidence-based education to enable everyone including those groups who have been underrepresented for a long time in leadership positions – such as women – to unfold their full potential. Yet, as scientific evidence indicates that reaching leadership roles is often more difficult for female high potentials, we developed specific initiatives and offer targeted activities that seek to support female future leaders. On this page, you can find more information on our activities in this area.

Meet some of our successful WHU alumnae

Mirja Gerlach
Managing Partner
MÜNCH-Edelstahl GmbH
"Female leadership for me means the recognition and awareness of one's own abilities and competencies. A healthy self-image of one's own strengths with clear, comprehensible directives."
Julia Kasper
"Female leadership is a diversity factor that makes teams more successful. We have to work on not constantly classifying clichés and issues of compatibility as women's issue - these are issues that concern everyone who wants to make a difference and shape something."
Tanja Dreilich
Group Chief Financial Officer und Managing Director
Constantia Flexibles Group
"In my career I was always focused on creating measurable value. It was a combination of good instinct, intelligence and talent that made my way. The lighthouse of my career so far was to lead a specialized software company, the Nemetschek SE, as CEO to the TecDAX in 2013. Woman in Tech - we don't have a business culture in Germany that is embracing woman at the top. So I focused on niches, high-risk topics, projects you have to work for very hard. There is no free lunch. But it's worth it: go for it ! Make it a success!"


Our community of In Praxi Women – A network of >1,000 women in business.

As part of the "Ladies@WHU - Community of In Praxi Women", a wide variety of event formats are offered on a very regular basis. These include both content-focused workshops as well as fireside or breakfast discussions with top female managers. Through networking with WHU, Executive Education, the Foundation and In Praxi, an active exchange on all exciting (women's) topics is maintained.

Initiative Women into Leadership

Networking and individual support – fostering female leadership talents.

Founded 2017 by our alumna Sabine Hansen (EMBA 2002), the cross-mentoring Initiative Women into Leadership aims to close the gap in the leadership talent development on the first two levels below top management with sustainable effect. The initiative provides an opportunity for companies wishing to actively engage in the process of developing their female leadership talents.

WHU Women in Business

Founded by MBA students – Promoting workplace equality.

We aim at connecting women in business in WHU and the German business community, driving thought leadership in business and management topics, and empowering women in business to pursue higher leadership roles.

FEM. – Female Leadership at WHU

Encouragement of female students - mentoring network with Ladies@WHU

Following the motto Empower.Create.Change., female Bachelor students organize a digital summit, hold regular workshops, and build a mentoring network with Ladies@WHU. Putting role models in the spotlight and fostering individual talents is crucial for FEM. - The WHU Female Leadership Initiative.


Our knowledge base – Generating thought leadership through research and publications.

WHU is home to an expert faculty whereby professors conduct a diverse range of projects, studies, and release leading publications addressing and answering relevant questions on the topics of female leadership in all areas and sectors of management.

Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 138, 103767
Krause, F., Chan, H. F., Schmidt, S., Schreyer, D., Torgler, B. (2022)
Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand, Springer Gabler

Erfolgreiche Frauen führen verantwortungsbewusst?! Nachhaltige Best Practices aus dem Mittelstand

Rankers, C., Kammerlander, N., Keller, K. (2021). In Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand, Springer Gabler: Berlin, pp. 75-93.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch

Nachhaltigkeit: Frauen schaffen Zukunft

Rankers, C., Kammerlander, N. (eds.) (2021). Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch: Frankfurt a. M.
Emerging Markets Review

Female directors, board committees, and firm performance: time-series evidence from Turkey

Ararat, M., Yurtoglu, B. (2021). Emerging Markets Review, Vol. 48, 100768
Allen, J. A. & Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. & Meinecke, A. L. (Eds.). Managing meetings in organizations

Multilevel antecedents of negativity in team meetings. The role of job attitudes and gender.

Gerpott, F., Chiu, M. M., Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2020). In Allen, J. A. & Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. & Meinecke, A. L. (Eds.). Managing meetings in organizations. Research on Managing Groups and teams, Volume 20, 143–161
Family Forum

Women in African family businesses - a still untapped opportunity.

Kammerlander, N. (2020). In Family Forum, South Africa.
C. Cooper, A.-S. Antoniou & C. Catrell (Eds.): Women, business and leadership: Gender and organizations

The steep way to the top: barriers to female leadership in tall hierarchical organizations

Schlamp, S., Gerpott, F., Voelpel, S. (2019). In C. Cooper, A.-S. Antoniou & C. Catrell (Eds.): Women, business and leadership: Gender and organizations (pp. 315 –329). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management

Affective Diversity and Emotional Intelligence in Cross-Functional Sourcing Teams.

Kaufmann, L., Wagner, C. M. (2017). Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 23 (1): 5-16
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Feess, E., Jost, P. J., and Müller, H. (2015). Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 172, 573–614
European Planning Studies
Fornahl, D., & Guenther, C. (2010). European Planning Studies, 18(12), 1911-1936.


As a leading academic institution with a strong DNA in innovation and entrepreneurship, WHU is committed to help close the gender gap in the start-up scene and is launching the WHU Female Founders Scholarship. This scholarship is a unique opportunity for female students in the Master in Entrepreneurship Program who are passionate about entrepreneurship and eager to make an impact in the German and worldwide entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The scholarship is about developing exceptional talent and empowering women to undertake entrepreneurial action. By providing access to both first class education and a unique network, WHU aims to bring the best of female talent and add value to the digital economy. We aspire to grow female leaders not only by providing monetary assistance, but also offering the best tools and personal support to succeed after graduation.

This partial scholarship is awarded annually by In Praxi to MSc students from non-EU countries. In the last 10 years a total of 30 persons have been supported. 

The Bachelor Women in Business Scholarship aims to assist qualified women, wishing to study at WHU with additional financial support. The scholarship is awarded to outstanding female applicants, who can demonstrate academic merit and motivation in the field of business. This scholarship is 20% of regular tuition fees per semester. It can be combined with all other scholarships.

WHU MBA Program offers one 50% tuition scholarship to a top female applicant to the MBA Program (Full-Time and Part-Time) per year. The recipient is chosen from all applicants for the WHU Women in Business Scholarship.

The Excellence and Diversity Scholarship is aimed at Non-EU students demonstrating excellent academic merit, who are looking to pursue studies at WHU. This may be combined with other BSc scholarships. Students receive a waiver of the non-EU tuition fees and pay only the EU tuition fees.

News & Stories

WHU Professor among 2023’s Top 40 HR Professionals

WHU Professor among 2023’s Top 40 HR Professionals

Personalmagazin praises Professor Fabiola H. Gerpott for her work in human resource management

WHU Startup Academy Scholarship Winner Marie Schardey

WHU Startup Academy Scholarship Winner Marie Schardey

The Bachelor student receives the first WHU scholarship in cooperation with the student initiative

Women into Leadership Kicks Off Sixth Program in Düsseldorf

Women into Leadership Kicks Off Sixth Program in Düsseldorf

IWiL invites women in business with illustrious careers to challenge themselves through its Women into Leadership mentoring program


WHU Toddlers

The Welcome Center of WHU offers a new childcare for WHU working parents in Vallendar "WHU Toddlers". The family daycare facility is primarily designed for children aged 1-3. A qualified nursery school teacher takes care of a small group of children in a flat close to the campus. The daycare follows a clear daily structure and provides breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks. Moreover, the children have access to a spacious outdoor garden area with many possibilities to play, discover, and develop their skills.


We look forward to hearing from you
Professor Fabiola Gerpott
Professor Fabiola Gerpott
Chair of Leadership