Germany’s government has agreed to introduce a mandatory quota for women in senior management positions in the country’s listed companies.
The deal, which was agreed on by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and coalition partner the Social Democrats, will mandate that as soon as a listed company has more than three board members, at least one must be a woman.
Germany’s Federal Minister of Women Franziska Giffey said the deal was a historic breakthrough for Germany.
“We are putting an end to women-free boardrooms in large companies,” 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.”
As part of the deal, 30 per cent 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”, such as health insurance companies.
Germany has had a voluntary system of commitment to gender equality on boards since 2015. So far, 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 per cent in the US, 24.5 per cent in the UK and 22.2 per cent in France, according to the study from the AllBright foundation.
It was also found that 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.
“This law is a huge success for women in Germany, and offers not just a great chance for society but for the companies too,” Germany’s justice minister, Christine Lambrecht said.