Germany’s government has agreed to introduce a mandatory quota for women in senior management positions in the country’s listed companies. The agreement will mandate that as soon as a listed company has more than three board members, at least one must be a woman.
In what some will see as an historic breakthrough for women and those particularly in Germany “We are putting an end to women-free boardrooms in large companies,” Franziska Giffey said.
“We are setting an example for a sustainable, modern society. We are exploiting all of our country’s potential so that the best in mixed teams can be more successful. Because nothing is done voluntarily and we need guidelines to move forward.”
The deal includes 30% of board members in companies where the government holds a majority stake, must be women. A quota for women will also be introduced for “corporations under public law”, for instance, health insurance companies.
Germany has had a voluntary system of commitment to gender equality on boards since 2015. To date, it has failed to have any real impact. Recent research has found that women make up 12.8 per cent of management boards in the 30 largest companies listed on the blue-chip Dax index in Germany. This compares with
- 28.6% in the US
- 24.5% in the UK
- 22.2% in France *
The number of women in senior executive positions fell to 23 in September this year, down from 29 the year before. The new deal has been praised as a first step towards gender equality in Germany’s private sector.
The subject of quotas draws views from all sectors and is quite polarizing, but as Merkel completes her term as Prime Minister, she’s making a lasting impact on the benefit of women in the Boardroom, rather that outside it.