Germany’s coalition parties have agreed to introduce a mandatory quota for women in senior positions at leading companies in the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and junior partner, the Social Democrats, agreed a bill, which will see at least one female board member on firms listed on the stock exchange (^GDAXI).
A system of voluntary commitments to gender equality has been in force since 2015, but was unsuccessful.
The move has been hailed a necessary step on the road to exterminate gender inequality in the german workplace, after firms were found to be failing to take voluntary steps to tackle the issue.
Businesses where the German government owns a majority stake, will be required to to fill 30% of the chairs in their boardrooms with women.
Germany’s justice minister Christine Lambrecht said that “this law is a huge success for women in Germany, and offers not just a great chance for society but for the companies too.”
In 2018, the coalition parties agreed to pass a law that would seek to improve conditions for women at the top in German business.
Meanwhile, Franziska Giffey, minister for families and women, called the deal a historic breakthrough. “We are putting an end to women-free C-suites in big companies,” Giffey said.
She conceded that a legislation enacted in 2015 that forced firms to publish targets for female participation at board level failed to yield the desired results.
According to a survey by the Swedish-German AllBright Foundation, women currently make up only 12.8% of the management boards on firms listed on Germany’s blue-chip DAX index.
In comparison, the proportion of women in leadership roles is 24.5% in the UK, 28.6% in the US, 22.2% in France and 24.9% in Sweden.
The research also shows that German C-suites have become more male-dominated in recent months, with the number of women in senior executive positions in the country falling to 23 at the start of September, from 29 last year.
The steel giant ThyssenKrupp (TKA.DE) is one of the few German conglomerates to have a female CEO, Martina Merz. She took the helm at the struggling manufacturer in 2019 and has been attempting to turn things around.
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