In Germany, large listed companies must ensure that women are represented on their boards, a new bill provides.
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The bill, agreed on Wednesday by the German coalition government, stipulates companies whose shares are listed and have at least four board members must be at least one of them.
The bill will be introduced in Parliament.
German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters that the bill sends a “very strong signal” and called on companies to “seize the opportunity offered by highly qualified women”.
“We can show that Germany is on track to become a modern society that is fit for the future,” said Francis Giff, the Minister of the German Affairs Family.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, lags behind other countries in the representation of women in senior positions.
According to data compiled by AllBright Fund, among the 30 largest companies in Germany included in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s DAX index, only 12.8% of board members are women.
Among US companies, 28.6% hold management positions, 24.5% in Great Britain and 22.2% in France.
In Germany, the representation of women in senior positions has decreased during the new coronovirus epidemic. Germany is the only major economy with such a trend, Allwright concluded.
11 Among the German companies included on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s DAX index, all board members are still male.
Women in Germany earn an average of 20% less than men. In the European Union (EU), women earn an average of 14% less than men.
None of the German companies included in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s DAX index are currently operated by a woman, but this situation is expected to change in May, when Bellena Gario becomes head of pharmaceutical company Merck.
In companies in which most of the shares are controlled by the government, the rules will be even stricter. In such companies, a board with at least two members should have at least one woman.