The federal government has launched women’s quotas for company boards agreed after a long coalition dispute. From the point of view of the Minister for the Family, Franziska Giffey, and the Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht (both SPDs), Wednesday’s government decision is a milestone for equality. The Union has made a similar statement. Criticism came from the opposition and trade unions. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) spoke of the limited effect of legislative plans that have yet to be approved by parliament.
The long-controversial bill stipulates that at least one woman must sit on the executive boards of listed companies with the same co-decision and more than three members. There are even stricter rules for companies with a majority share of the federal government: In general, if there are more than two members of a management team, there should be at least one woman.
In addition, companies will have to give special reasons in the future if they plan an executive board, two top management levels under the executive board and a supervisory board without women. Sanctions for breaches of reporting obligations need to be tightened.
“We’re acting now”
“It’s a huge success,” Giffey said. She stressed that it was not easy to find an agreement in the black-red coalition. Lambrecht spoke of a good day for all highly qualified women in Germany. The Union also praised the compromise. There have been attempts for years to voluntarily increase the proportion of women in management positions, said Nadine Schön, vice-president of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. “There have always been commitments to make it happen.” Unfortunately, the reality is different. We are acting now. “
From the point of view of green politicians Ulle Schauws and Claudia Müller, the government’s proposal is weak and with only minimal agreement. The bill does not go far enough for Doris Achelwilm of the left-wing parliamentary group either. “This minimum participation is not a quota and raises concerns that implementation will then remain with individual board members, no matter how large the board is,” she said.
The DGB also called for stricter rules. Elke Hannack, vice-president of the German Trade Union Federation, described the bill as an important step towards tearing down the “glass ceiling”. However, she demanded that women be more represented in large companies
Do too few companies meet the target?
According to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), the effect of the law will be limited. “This is the best impetus for equality policy in society as a whole, especially by breaking down gender stereotypes,” said DIW expert Katharina Wrohlich. Minimum participation does not immediately change the low proportion of women per capita, it applies to too few companies.
According to the study, almost half of listed companies (44 percent), whose board members will have a quota for women in the future, do not have a manager on the executive committee. According to Fidar (women on supervisory boards), this would affect 73 companies, 32 of which do not have a female manager on the top floor. There is already a quota of women for supervisory boards: from a certain size – usually more than 2,000 employees – 30 percent of supervisory board positions should be filled by women.
Before the law enters into force, it must still pass the Federal Assembly. The process should be completed within this legislative term, Giffey said. DPA