German businesses to make gender equality a Policy
by FFE EU News staff
The German government coalition has just agreed last Tuesday to impose a gender quota on company supervisory boards starting 2016.
Annette Widmann-Mauz, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member and Health Ministry parliamentary secretary of state, said the move will be ‘a cultural shift in the corporate sector.’ However, company execs and associations have denounced the move, saying it is an intrusion to corporate freedom.
German laws on co-determination have helped lessen the gender gap in company supervisory boards. However, the numbers remain dismal: women labour representatives only fill up 24% of the 638 seats in supervisory boards, women capital investor representatives meanwhile only fill up 13% of seats in their board. 58 of 160 companies are also found to have no representation from women on boards.
Some have said that the coalition’s agreement may not be as effective as it appears to be, as the quota only covers certain types of businesses. No punishments have also been outlined for companies that will not follow the quota.
One German company has taken matters into its own hands. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has imposed an internal goal for the company: to increase the number of women in leadership positions from 10% to 20% by 2020. The company is already meeting the target 30% women in its supervisory board.
Other companies that are gaining ground in gender equality in leadership positions include Deutsche Telekom, Lufthansa and RWE.