Gender Quota Plan on Merkel’s Board of Directors Does Not Go Far Enough, Say German Greens | TBEN | 21.11.2020

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The German Green Party on Saturday criticized a government proposal to force large companies to have at least one woman on their executive board, saying it does not go far enough.

Ministers of the ruling Conservative and Social Democratic coalition on Friday approved the measure, which will apply to all companies with more than three board members.

But Greens spokesperson and MP Ulle Schauws said the plan could have been more ambitious.

“It is high time that a binding quota for women was introduced on boards of directors,” she said, calling the government’s idea “minimum”.

The gender balance on the boards of German companies has been a subject of debate for years.

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Center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have long called on the government to intervene and legislate, while center-right Christian Democrats of Angela Merkel have traditionally been more skeptical.

“Some things go on for far too long, but we finally got somewhere in the quota dispute with the Christian Democrats,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who also praised the deal. Scholz is also the SPD candidate who hopes to succeed Merkel as chancellor in the 2021 elections.

“ An important step on the road to equality ”

Marcel Fratzscher, chairman of the think tank of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), told the Handelsblatt Saturday’s business newspaper said such quotas are “an important step on the road to equality and equal opportunities in Germany”.

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He said this would “send a strong signal by forcing big companies to do much more than before to promote equality and equal opportunity.”

Friday’s deal will be based on a 2015 law that guarantees a 30% quota for women on German supervisory boards.

Being part of a supervisory board is a non-executive role. Its members are generally chosen by the shareholders of the company to promote good governance, hire and fire senior management and review major business decisions made by the CEO.

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While women made up 28% of the supervisory boards of major German companies in 2018, they made up only 10% of management positions.

Jennifer Morgan became the first female CEO of a leading German company last year, as a co-leader of the SAP enterprise software group.

But she resigned in April, leaving Christian Klein as the company’s sole CEO.

Daimler, the Stuttgart-based auto giant, currently has two female executives on its board.

jf / mm (TBEN, dpa, Reuters)

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