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German cabinet approves gender quota bill for company executive boards

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Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday, 6 January, approved legislation that will require large companies to put at least one woman on their management boards.

The bill calls for companies with more than 2,000 employees that are listed on the stock exchange and have boards with over three members to have at least one woman and at least one man on those boards.

The justice ministry said that will apply to around 70 companies, some 30 of which currently have no women on their boards.

According to Aljazeera, female representation has fallen back in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic, the only major economy to see such a decline, with 11 DAX companies still led by all-male board executives.

Women earn an average of 20 per cent less than men in Germany, compared with 14 per cent less across the European Union.

The government also plans to ensure that around 90 companies in which it has a majority stake have at least one woman on managements boards that have more than two members. Those companies include the national railway operator and the national air traffic control agency.

Justice minister Christine Lambrecht said that legislation has shown that such rules work and that they change not just the composition of leadership bodies, but also have an effect on the whole company culture.

With the new legislation, “we are finally giving qualified and motivated women the opportunities they deserve at management level too, Lambrecht said in a statement.

 

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