Germany: Minister calls for quotas to bring more women into the boardroom

A controversial plan to introduce quotas to increase the number of female board members in German companies has been criticised by social partners.

The issue was highlighted at the beginning of July 2014, when the first Public Women On Board Index was released. The index monitors 225 public entities at national, state and local level.

The results showed that around 25.1% of board members in public sector companies are female.

Manuela Schwesig, the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth said this proportion was too low. She is currently drafting a law introducing a quota for female board members.

The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) warned against a fixed quota for female board members. While DGB advocates a 30% quota for employer and union representatives, something suggested by the Minister, it says quotas for employee representatives needed to be more flexible and oriented towards the gender mix in an establishment. Otherwise, it believes male-dominated sectors would have serious difficulties filling these posts.

Meanwhile, in July 2014, Martin Wansleben, Chair of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) also came out against quotas. He emphasised in an interview with the weekly publication, Der Spiegel, that a quota was the ‘wrong way’ to recruit more women to managerial positions.

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