Women’s quota: Germany is at the bottom

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Women's quota: Germany is at the bottom


Germany has the weakest targets in Europe for women, shows a union-related study. However, there are 21 countries that have no binding requirements at all.



© Tim Brakemeier / dpa



Germany has the weakest legal rules for more women in management positions: Among the ten European countries that have a legally binding gender quota for large companies, the Federal Republic comes in last place, as from a study by the Institute for Co-Determination and Management (IMU) of the union-related Hans Böckler Foundation. However, there are 21 European countries that do not pursue this goal or have only legally non-binding recommendations.

For the study, the researchers evaluated for the 27 EU countries as well as Great Britain, Norway, Iceland and Turkey whether there are binding rules for a more balanced gender ratio on the executive floors of companies and how strong they are. Eight Eastern European EU members as well as Cyprus and Malta therefore do not pursue this goal at the political level. Eleven others leave it with legally non-binding recommendations, including Turkey, Romania, Poland, Great Britain, Greece, Sweden, Ireland or Denmark.

Only 107 German companies affected by women’s quota

Germany is one of ten other countries that have legally binding quotas for more gender equality at the top of the company. Norway has the most effective regulation here – measured by an index that takes into account in which part of the corporate landscape and in which committees the quota applies.

Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, France, Iceland, Austria and the Netherlands follow in the ranks behind, sometimes at a considerable distance. Germany comes in tenth and last place.

In the Federal Republic, a binding quota of 30 percent has been in force for supervisory boards of companies that are subject to participation, but which also have to be listed on the stock exchange. According to the Böckler Foundation, the quota currently only affects 107 companies.

If Germany extends the quota obligation to all listed and state-controlled companies, the number could be increased to about a thousand, the analysis says. If all private corporations were included, this would include several thousand companies.

Quota also for board members?

Germany could also catch up in a European comparison if the quota applied not only to supervisory boards, but also to the appointment of board members. Stricter sanctions for companies that disregard the quota would also have a positive impact.

The deputy chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Elke Hannack, criticized the German guidelines as “too soft, too non-binding, too little mandatory. (…) That is why Germany ends up in the country’s comparison of the European quota regulations for more women in leadership on the shameful last place. ”

In order for women to have equal opportunities for top jobs, the gender quota “had to be expanded significantly,” she said. The DGB expressly welcomes the fact that the Federal Government wants to act here and relies on a quick parliamentary procedure.

Directors: “still pure men’s clubs”

“We also need a fixed quota for unlisted companies and their boardrooms,” said Hannack. “Only with crystal-clear legal requirements can we make progress like other countries do.” Only liability is effective. “A glance at the current situation shows that the proportion of women on the supervisory boards, which has a 30 percent quota, has been reached. 90 percent of the board members are still purely male clubs.”

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