Building cars, driving trains, planning cities: the mobility industry is a male domain. Only four out of 16 state transport ministries are headed by women, around 90 percent of the executive boards in the automotive But some women want to help shape mobility, in large corporations or in small, innovative companies. In the series "You move something", ZEIT ONLINE introduces some of them.
Building cars, driving trains, planning cities: the mobility industry is a male domain.
Only four out of 16 state transport ministries are headed by women, around 90 percent of the executive boards in the automotive
But some women want to help shape mobility, in large corporations or in small, innovative companies.
In the series "You move something", ZEIT ONLINE introduces some of them.
When Ghazaleh Koohestanian talks about her company, she sounds like an activist.
"You won't be able to stop people from making the world a better place," she then says.
She does not want to leave the sovereignty over digitization to Google, Apple or Amazon.
Users would have to regain control of their data.
And everyone should have access to mobility.
You could almost forget that she also wants to sell something.
Koohestanian's work is in demand in the mobility industry: the Federal Ministry of Transport invites her as an expert, Daimler, VW and Lufthansa are among the customers of her company re2you, which she founded just ten years ago.
It offers cloud-based software that connects different devices, even if their operating systems are actually incompatible.
With re2you, for example, a car sharing provider could work with the municipal utilities to operate a charging network for e-car operators and let customers know which charging station is currently available - even if the IT systems of the authorities and companies do not actually match.
Usually Koohestanian jets across Europe to meet customers.
This year, when so little is normal, Koohestanian spends most of the working days in her garden by a lake in Brandenburg.
Here it goes up and down all day and calls customers and employees.
Your Italian shepherd dog Nera is almost always there.
Diversity as an advantage
A conversation with Koohestanian is an entertaining affair and a challenge, especially for journalists.
We try to be clear and concise, avoiding flowery language and metaphors.
Koohestanian speaks almost exclusively in pictures.
She describes herself as a "surfer who surfs the big breakers in the corona crisis" and as a "bridge builder" in the mobility industry.
She compares her job as managing director in the tech industry with the challenges in show jumping and speaks so fast that it is difficult to keep up.
Her mother tongue Persian shaped her, so she thinks in pictures, says Koohestanian.
Persian is a "very empathic, flowery language".
Koohestanian was born in Iran in 1976 and came to Germany at the age of eight.
Since then she has been a professional show jumper, horse breeder and fashion designer.
She learned programming during a foreign assignment for Nokia in China and worked as a manager at Google Family in Berlin.
She now speaks eight languages. "The ninth is computer," she says and laughs.
As a woman with a migration background, she is an exception in both the mobility industry and the tech world.
She sees this as an advantage: "Diversity is absolutely beneficial for innovation. I have a different background, a different point of view. That can be enriching."
She did not experience discrimination.
If you talk to Koohestanian about her work, she immediately comes to the really big debates: Monopolists made Internet users dependent on their products, she says, who once worked at Google herself.
What she means by that: Either you are following the lines that the corporations specify, or you do not use their services and can only use the Internet to a limited extent.
"I thought to myself, Google is awesome, but I can't support the philosophy behind it," says Koohestanian.
She left the company to find an alternative.
One with which you can also earn money, of course - just not at the expense of the individual users, she says.