Urban Pioneers: Munich’s Head of the Equal Opportunities Office

8 January 2024

Nicole Lassal is the driving force behind Munich‘s Equal Opportunities Office for Women. Her role is a commitment to breaking gender barriers and fostering an environment where the rights and potential of women are fully realised.

At the heart of the office’s mission is the dedication to dismantling gender inequalities through practical measures. Lassal’s team collaborates closely with the city administration and local organisations, implementing sustainable initiatives that aim not only to promote gender equality but also to enhance the quality of life for women in Munich.

In this edition of Urban Pioneers, we sit down with Nicole Lassal, Head of the Equal Opportunities Office for Women in Munich, to delve into her inspiring work, gaining insights into the transformative initiatives shaping a more equitable future for Munich.

What are you trying to achieve in your position?

We are constantly developing targeted programmes and initiatives aimed at, for example, removing barriers to women’s career development or ensuring equal

We also work closely with stakeholders, including government agencies, companies and civil society organisations, to gain broad support for gender equality measures.

Another important aspect of our work is raising awareness. Through this, we aim to bring about long-term change in society and help establish a culture of equality.

Our overall goal is to ensure that women have equal rights, equal opportunities and freedom from discrimination in all areas of life.

What’s your personal motivation to do this job?

We firmly believe that every person, regardless of their gender, deserves the right to equal opportunities, development, recognition and a life free from discrimination and violence. This conviction drives us to actively work for equality and against discrimination based on gender.

The work of the Equal Opportunities Office enables us to take concrete steps to improve the living conditions of women, whether through the development of political initiatives, awareness-raising campaigns or cooperation with various stakeholders in society.

We aim to make a lasting contribution to changing structures and thought patterns.
— Nicole Lassal

We aim to make a lasting contribution to changing structures and thought patterns.

What are your main challenges?

The work of the Equal Opportunities Office for Women is characterised by a variety of challenges. A central task is to uncover existing gender inequalities and actively take measures to promote equality.

Gender-specific pay gaps, unequal career opportunities and traditional role models are deep-rooted structural barriers that disadvantage women and that can only be overcome through a comprehensive approach.

To face these challenges, we are involved in campaigns and activities that draw attention, for example, to the pay gap on the annual Equal Pay Day.

We also take a clear stand against gender-based violence. The city of Munich has developed an action plan with 33 measures against gender-specific violence and has launched a related campaign. We are also active in the area of digital violence and are in the process of setting up a counselling centre for those affected.

Campaigns are crucial to raising society’s awareness of existing inequalities and promoting gender equality. It is important to break down prejudices and stereotypes.

It is important to break down prejudices and stereotypes.
— Nicole Lassal

Other challenges are linked to women’s careers. For example, flexible working models or childcare support play an important role in improving the work-life balance. We also support measures within the city administration to advance women in leadership positions. And, more recently, we must address the challenges in the digital area to ensure that women have equal opportunities in the context of the digital transformation.

When was the last time you felt that your position had a positive impact on your city’s inhabitants?

We continuously strive to bring about positive change for the residents of our city.

For example, the Equality Protects Against Violence campaign resonated widely in the community and led to increased discussions about the causes of violence and the need to stand together for a fairer society.

We also support citizens in need in our daily counselling practice. One interesting initiative is the programme that offers vouchers for taxis specifically for women. It enables them to move around the city more safely, especially in the late evening hours. It is encouraging to see how this measure improves the mobility and independence as well as the sense of security of many women.

This interview is part of ‘Urban Pioneers,’ a Eurocities series published every second and fourth Monday of the month spotlighting innovative and original job positions in municipalities across Europe. Each article in this series highlights a job position aimed at improving wellbeing, health conditions, society and the environment in cities. From tackling the urban heat island effect to countering gender imbalances to encouraging sustainable mobility, ‘Urban Pioneers’ showcases how cities are leading by example and breaking new ground in enhancing people’s quality of life. ‘Urban Pioneers’ jobs can inspire national, regional and EU authorities to create similar positions in their own structures, multiplying across Europe’s regions and nations the positive impact that started in cities.


Wilma Dragonetti Eurocities Writer