When Rubin Ritter announced his resignation as head of Zaland in early December, he explained it this way: Now his wife’s career takes precedence. The mere fact that it caused a stir and made headlines shows where Germany is in the debate on women in leadership positions. And right at the beginning. The federal government has now at least taken a step in the right direction. On Wednesday, it introduced a quota for women on executive boards. Correctly. Because past experience has shown that too little is happening in companies on its own.
This is already shown by a look at 30 Dax companies. In eleven of them, the record is still made up exclusively of men. And the proportion of women has been declining rather than increasing in recent months. Comparison with other countries shows that there is another way. In the USA, Great Britain, France, Sweden or Poland, it is much easier for companies to promote women to top management.
They presented the project: Family Minister Franziska Giffey (r) and Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD). Photo: dpa
This is a strategic disadvantage for Germany. Mixed teams are not only more creative and successful. Companies are also increasingly competing for well-qualified workers: But which young woman (and which young man) wants to work in a company in which men are promoted almost exclusively?
Companies should act on their own initiative
Critics of the quota say it is too much of an interference with corporate freedom. But on the one hand, this law is preceded by years in which corporations could actively act on their own. On the other hand, on closer examination, the interference is not very great: The quota only applies to listed companies with the same co-decision and more than three board members. Nationwide, this only applies to 73 companies, 32 of which do not have women on their boards. Most German companies are spared.
For them, the quota is also a clear signal to change and adapt the corporate culture. And politics is still in demand: something like maternity leave, parental leave or caring leave is still not provided by law to council members. Regulation is also needed if the federal government really wants to see more women at the top of the economy.