From the economic wing of the Union, an understanding of the world sounds like from the last century: One should not sacrifice fundamental positions to a “fickle zeitgeist”. So do women – aka the “fickle beings” – have no place in company boards in 2020? If it were up to the economic wing of the CDU / CSU and the AfD, probably not.
The quota for women planned by the coalition is anything but a savior of equality. The regulation will affect around 70 German companies – and a similarly small number of women. It is clear that such a quota does not bring us any closer to the abolition of social hierarchies. This becomes particularly clear when the draft is promoted with the argument of economic development, such as by SPD parliamentary deputy Katja Mast. Feminist demands should not be limited to the success of less well-educated, often white women – based on the exploitation of women from the global south.
Nevertheless, the initiative could have a »signal effect« for impetus for gender equality policy. And if only that, that many in the oh so enlightened federal politics absolutely want to prevent women in decisive positions. Open your eyes to the election of the Federal Chancellor.
The outgoing CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer welcomed the agreement reached after tough negotiations in the coalition for stricter guidelines for female bosses in the economy. “The fact that the quota for women is finally coming to board members in larger companies is a breakthrough and an important step on the way to equality and equal opportunities in Germany,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer Süddeutsche Zeitung. The compromise was “only a first step, but one with an important signal effect,” she said. “I am convinced that companies will benefit from a more diverse management team.”
The coalition working group on the draft law for more women in top positions (FüPoG2) finally agreed on an eight-point plan on Friday evening. According to this, board members in listed companies with equal co-determination and with more than three members must appoint at least one woman. Existing board members will, however, receive grandfathering. Management boards, supervisory boards and the two management levels below may no longer be assigned a gender without justification – otherwise there is a risk of fines. Federal companies must have at least 30 percent of the opposite sex on the supervisory board. Directors with more than two members must appoint a woman. A minimum participation of one man and one woman will be introduced on boards and management boards of health insurance companies, the Federal Employment Agency as well as pension and accident insurances.
Esken praises Giffeys and Lambrecht’s “tenacity”
Kramp-Karrenbauer’s reference to the mixed management teams can also be understood as a criticism of their potential successors. Three party friends are running for office, none of them has yet a wife by their side. Friedrich Merz, a self-declared economic expert, has so far rejected a quota in the economy, and is also skeptical within the party. Armin Laschet and Norbert Röttgen, on the other hand, are open to the considerations.
The SPD had fought for binding regulations for years. Co-party leader Saskia Esken praised the fact that the goal of fair participation of women in leadership positions had “finally come a lot closer”. The “tenacity” of the ministers Franziska Giffey and Christine Lambrecht – they had submitted the draft law – and of Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it is mainly thanks to “that supervisory boards as a whole and board members with more than two members without women finally a” no go ” will be”. Esken expects “that the law can now be introduced into parliament, discussed and passed without further delay.”
Sociology professor Jutta Allmendinger warned to be satisfied with what has been achieved. “We have to address further regulations that cause structural discrimination against women,” said the president of the Berlin Science Center of the SZ. “It’s also about more diversity in governing bodies, regardless of the sectors. The gender issue is only one important dimension,” she said. “Work will continue next week.”
The black and red federal government has basically agreed on a binding quota for women on executive boards. Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) announced on Friday after the working group set up by the coalition committee had reached an agreement on this issue on boards of listed and jointly determined companies with more than three members.
The compromise is to be presented to the coalition leaders for a final decision next week. Subsequently, the departmental coordination and the participation of the federal states and associations will be initiated so that the cabinet decision can be made promptly, Lambrecht said.
The quota is an essential point in the so-called Management Positions Act – for the first time there would be binding requirements for more women on executive boards. The working group of Union and SPD has also agreed that in future there should be a supervisory board quota of at least 30 percent and a minimum participation in executive boards for companies with a majority stake by the federal government. A minimum participation of women should also be introduced in public corporations such as health insurance companies and pension and accident insurance institutions, as well as in the Federal Employment Agency.
The CDU, CSU and SPD agreed in the coalition agreement to improve the law on women in management positions. At the beginning of the year, Federal Women’s Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) and Lambrecht presented a corresponding bill. After differences, the heads of the coalition decided to set up a working group in the summer.
The working group set up by the coalition committee agreed on key points of the Second Management Positions Act in the evening. For the first time, these provide binding guidelines for more women on executive boards. In the future, one member of the executive boards of listed companies with equal co-determination with more than three members must be a woman. A supervisory board quota of at least 30 percent and a minimum participation in executive boards were agreed for companies with a majority shareholding by the federal government. A minimum participation is also to be introduced for corporations under public law such as health insurance companies, pension and accident insurance institutions and the Federal Employment Agency.
This result will be presented to the coalition leaders for a final decision next week. Immediately thereafter, the departmental coordination and the participation of the federal states and associations should be initiated so that the cabinet decision can be made promptly.
“It’s good that women ministers have remained so tough”
The chairwoman of the Women’s Union, Minister of State Annette Widmann-Mauz, reacted with satisfaction to the decision: It would “clear the way for the advancement of women,” said Widmann-Mauz. “Mixed teams are a recipe for success – not just in times of crisis.”
SPD parliamentary group vice-president Katja Mast said it was “good that our social democratic ministers Franziska Giffey and Christine Lambrecht stayed so tough” – and that “the pressure from society has moved the mountain”. It is a historic step.
From the CSU it was said that the party would only approve the agreement if there were further improvements for all women. It is an “important signal”, said the Deputy Head of the Bavarian Women’s Union, Silke Launert. “However, we have to improve the framework conditions for all women and motivate them.” “Increasing the tax-free allowance for single parents is an important condition”.
Companies with the goal: “0” women on the board
The quota for supervisory boards has been in force since 2016 for large listed companies that are subject to co-determination. You must fill at least 30 percent of the positions with women. At that time, the federal government relied on voluntary action on the executive boards. You should set yourself voluntary targets. Several scientific studies and reports by the federal government show that the majority of companies are aiming for “0” women on their boards. In addition, the proportion of female managers there has hardly increased.
In the statement of the federal government on a new evaluation report it is said that it comes to the conclusion that a binding regulation would increase the effectiveness of the law for more female managers. At the same time, however, the report also points out that the appointment regulations for the board of directors are a more severe interference with entrepreneurial freedom.
Dhe black-red coalition has basically agreed on a binding quota for women on executive boards. According to Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) and State Minister Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU) on Friday after an agreement by the working group set up by the coalition committee on this issue, a member of the boards of listed and jointly determined companies with more than three members must in future be a woman With. The compromise is to be presented to the coalition leaders for a final decision next week.
Subsequently, the departmental coordination and the participation of the federal states and associations will be initiated so that the cabinet decision can be made promptly, Lambrecht said. The quota is an essential point in the so-called Management Positions Act – for the first time there should be binding requirements for more women on executive boards.
“This is a great success for women”
The working group of Union and SPD has also agreed that there should be a supervisory board quota of at least 30 percent and a minimum participation in executive boards for companies with a majority shareholding by the federal government. A minimum participation of women is also to be introduced in public corporations such as health insurances and pension and accident insurance institutions, as well as in the Federal Employment Agency.
Lambrecht explained that women contribute to the company’s success with high qualifications and performance. “This is a great success for women in Germany and at the same time offers a great opportunity both for society and for companies themselves.”
Widmann-Mauz emphasized that the federal government was setting a good example on the way to more women at the top. Graduated legal requirements for executive and supervisory boards would take into account different circumstances in private and public companies. The deputy Union faction leader Nadine Schön (CDU) called the agreement a milestone.
The Union faction had insisted that there should also be progress where many women work – in the health and social sectors. Only 14 percent are women on the boards of health, pension and accident insurances. Therefore, in the future, at least one position on board members with two people will be occupied by a woman. In the Union it was said that parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) had made a particular effort to achieve the agreement.
Voluntary self-guidelines had little effect
Minister for Women Franziska Giffey (SPD) spoke of a “historic breakthrough”. Because nothing is done voluntarily, guidelines are necessary in order to move forward. “We exploit all of our country’s potential so that the best in mixed teams can be more successful.”
According to a recently published report on behalf of the federal government, voluntary self-specifications had little effect on the quota of women on executive boards. On behalf of the Ministry of Family Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, the effects of the 2015 law on women in management positions were examined. Accordingly, the proportion of women on the executive boards of the companies concerned is currently 7.6 percent.
The Union and the SPD had already agreed to improve the law on women in management positions in the coalition agreement. At the beginning of the year, Giffey and Lambrecht submitted a corresponding bill. After differences, the heads of the coalition decided in the summer to set up a working group on the subject.
Bonn Fränzi Kühne from Berlin was once Germany’s youngest member of the supervisory board. A description that she doesn’t particularly like herself. After all, she is above all an entrepreneur who has familiarized many German CEOs with digitization in recent years. And is a guest in the current issue of Handelsblatt Mindshift.
In 2008, two years before Instagram started, Kühne co-founded the digital consultancy “Torben, Lucie and the Yellow Danger” (TLGG). At a time when only a few could do anything with channels like Facebook and Twitter. Today, the Kreuzberg agency with over 200 employees advises at least half of all DAX companies, such as Eon, Bayer and Volkswagen. In addition, large companies such as Thyssen-Krupp, Lufthansa and Vodafone,
Kühne is happy to make decisions quickly. But in the spring she had to think twice. She left the TLGG social media forge – with a heavy heart, but in good spirits – to have more time for herself and a trip around the world. She had South and Central America in view, also Australia and New Zealand.
“I deliberately wanted to go out and down. I wanted to travel so that I no longer have this everyday life, “she says in the new podcast episode. “It’s not a question of vanity or status for me, but I wanted that to myself. I wanted to see where things were going in the future. “
“When asked what your mom likes doing best ?, my daughter replied: work. And I thought that was really nice. Because that’s exactly what I want to convey to her. Working is something really beautiful. ” Fränzi Kühne
But instead of the future, the corona standstill came first and Kühne, like everyone else, had to stay at home. However, the mother of a three-year-old daughter doesn’t have much free time, after all, Kühne is a member of the supervisory board of Freenet and Württembergische Versicherung. She is also a member of the AllBright Board of Trustees as well as an author and columnist and co-initiator of the campaign “Without women. Without us.”.
Fränzi Kühne is now in favor of a women’s quota: “Of course I’m a feminist. Like so many others who are committed to the topic, ”says the 37-year-old at Handelsblatt-Mindshift. As an entrepreneur, she would be reluctant if she were told by politicians how to occupy her boardroom. “But I notice that nothing happens by itself.”
We also talked to Fränzi Kühne about how she used her new free time, how she will continue her career in the future and which book she will publish in 2021.
Our partner from Handelsblatt Mindshift
If after listening to you feel like more food for thought and maybe want to get active yourself, we would like to recommend the LinkedIn group of The Shift – the diversity initiative of the Handelsblatt Media Group and our partner for this podcast episode. There you will not only find everything important about the initiative, but also news, interviews and tips on the topic of diversity. Make new contacts and exchange ideas on current topics for discussion – we look forward to hearing from you.
Sometimes it seems like the questions of all questions: Do we need binding quota regulations to advance gender equality? Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht and Federal Minister for Women Franziska Giffey say yes and call for a quota for women on board members of large German companies. The SPD politicians are supported by a network of prominent women that met in Berlin on Wednesday to once again argue for this demand.
The answer is clear when you look at the figures from the past few years. In 2015 the federal government passed a law on the equal participation of women and men in management positions. A statutory quota of 30 percent has been set for supervisory boards; The balance sheet after five years: 70 companies have set themselves a »target« of zero women.
Voluntariness as a concept for more gender equality is a myth – and a slap in the face of all those highly qualified women who want to take on management positions. There are many of them, emphasizes Jutta Allmendinger, President of the Berlin Social Science Center, who is a member of the network: “The pipeline is full.”
Genau 101 companies in Germany will receive a red envelope on Wednesday. In a sense, they are the failures among the 160 listed companies from Dax, MDax and SDax – at least from the sender’s point of view. Because they did not appoint a single woman to the top management level.
The post that denounced this was sent by the non-profit Allbright Foundation. She advocates more diversity and women in management positions and has now completed the report on current developments. The most alarming finding for them: There are even setbacks among the 30 DAX companies. As of September 1, eleven of them had no women on the Executive Board. Last year there were only six.
“This setback is terrifying,” says Allbright Managing Director Wiebke Ankersen. Actually things have been steadily improving recently – slowly, but in the direction of more diversity. Overall, the subdued trend continues: Compared to 2019, there are two fewer letter recipients among the 160 companies in the Dax family.
Stay or go The job agent will help.
But of all things, the opposite happens with the DAX companies. Allbright has a total of 23 women on the executive boards, compared to 29 in the previous year. The proportion of women is just under 13 percent, which is the same as in 2017.
There are still four candidates among the DAX companies who formally have no ambitions to change that. The companies from Dax, MDax and SDax are obliged to publish targets for increasing the proportion of women on their boards. According to Allbright, Delivery Hero, Deutsche Wohnen, Heidelberg Cement and RWE indicate the target figure zero by 2022.
“We thought the all-male teams in the Dax will disappear this year because you can no longer afford it for reasons of reputation,” says Ankersen. In their eyes, the big boys have been the model students when it comes to diversity. But this picture has now got clear cracks.
“During the crisis, corporations rely on the supposedly secure”
Ankersen attributes this not only, but also to the Corona crisis. Individual companies downsized their board members, women left more often and were replaced by men. “In the crisis, corporations apparently rely on the supposedly secure – namely men who seem more familiar to them as a management type,” says Ankersen.
According to Ankersen, behind this is a phenomenon that she calls the “Thomas cycle”. The corporations have been recruiting their board members according to the same pattern for decades: The members are predominantly male West German scientists in their mid-fifties – and a particularly large number of them are called Thomas.
A crisis is actually a good time to question established structures and try out new things, says Ankersen. But this is exactly what the companies evidently shied away from, and they even increased their thinking in traditional templates.
Germany is taking a different approach, the foundation attests. For comparison, the authors of the report looked at companies from five other countries that are listed in the respective national leading index: France, Great Britain, Poland, Sweden and the USA. There, during the crisis, “more diverse management teams are being built up”.
The proportion of women in top management is sometimes more than twice as high as in the Dax companies: While it is a good ten percent here on average, it is almost 29 percent in the USA. In this comparison, the Federal Republic of Germany is the only country in which none of the 30 largest corporations has 30 percent women on the executive board. And it is the only country where no company is run by a woman.
Recently, however, there have been signs of changes. According to the report, two companies will soon achieve a 33 percent share of women for the first time: Deutsche Telekom in November and SAP in January. Siemens, on the cut-off date of the Allbright survey without a woman on the Executive Board, has had a HR manager in Judith Wiese again since October. And at the pharmaceutical company Merck, Belén Garijo, a woman, is to take over the chairmanship of the management team from May.
Garijo was of course already on the board of directors; “Such very experienced women get the chance of further advancement even in the crisis,” says Ankersen. It was similar with Martina Merz, who became CEO of the ailing steel giant Thyssenkrupp a year ago. However, Ankersen also hopes that the worst may have bottomed out. “We hope it’s just a dent in development and the corporations will sort themselves even better as the crisis progresses,” she says.
The employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW) points out that the proportion of women on corporate boards is also a question of the offer. “On average, women in Germany work part-time much more often,” says IW economist Oliver Stettes. That hinders their chances of promotion, because in many companies the promotion is also an instrument of the reward for past achievements.
If you compete as a part-time employee against a full-time employee, you logically have worse cards. “A climb up a long career ladder to the top ranks is preceded by a strong commitment to time,” says Stettes. “It’s not about comfortable positions, you have to bite through.”
The path to leadership
The state could, of course, encourage family and work to be better reconciled, for example by expanding the care infrastructure. However, it is not certain whether people will end up behaving as expected. For him: “It is legitimate if companies do not regard gender as a central characteristic when filling a management position.”
Even Allbright Managing Director Ankersen does not call for binding guidelines on the proportion of women on boards, as Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey and Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD) are striving for. “We rely on companies to take action in their own interest,” she says.
There are other means available to the state to support women’s career advancement. As an example, she cites the lack of day care places, which still make it difficult to combine family and work, and the splitting of spouses, which means that many women work less part-time.
The draft law that the ministers are seeking is on hold due to opposition from the Union. The coalition committee agreed at the end of August to set up a working group to defuse the conflict. But Giffey’s hope for an agreement in September was not fulfilled.
Your ministry wants, among other things, to expand the fixed gender quota of 30 percent on the supervisory board to all companies that have equal participation. This will increase the number of companies affected from currently 105 to 600.
In addition, there should be a quota for board members: if there are four or more members, at least one woman should be a member of the board. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Family Affairs had emphasized that only a fixed quota would work – and that it would be an economic measure if more women were to be in management positions. “Because mixed teams make better decisions for companies,” she said.
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A maternity leave is also under discussion for top managers in public companies. Union politicians advocated opening the way to a kind of parental or care leave. It is about being able to let the mandate rest without having to resign from the board of directors and without having to bear liability risks during that time. Justice Minister Lambrecht is apparently considering changes to stock corporation law to enable family time off for board members of listed companies.
The proportion of women on the German supervisory boards of the 160 listed companies is significantly higher than on the executive boards. According to the Allbright Report, it was around 32 percent on the reporting date. Five percent of the supervisory board chairmen were women.