Earlier this week, Germany passed a new law aimed at improving the representation of women on corporate boards.
The law, which is set to take effect at the beginning of next year, will require major companies to reserve at least 30% of their supervisory seats for women.
According to The New York Times…
“Fewer than 20 percent of the seats on corporate boards in Germany are held by women, while some of the biggest multinational companies in the world are based here, including Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler — the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles — as well as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, BASF, Bayer and Merck.”
In what seems to be a trend in Europe (and across the world), many nations are looking to legislate a much greater role for women in the corporate world. According to Huffington Post…
“In 2008, Norway became the first country to enact a quota of 40 percent, threatening to dissolve publicly traded companies who did not comply. France, Iceland and Spain soon followed. The Netherlands and Malaysia set non-binding targets of 30 percent. Australia, Britain and Sweden have threatened to enforce quotas if companies not voluntarily give more corporate supervisory seats to women.”
According to Forbes…
“The US, without quotas, is creeping its way towards an average of 17% female representation on boards, though there are organizations pushing for 30% representation.”
While it seems most of Europe is implementing some type of quota, not everyone is convinced that this is the best strategy. Some worry that the forced quotas could leave companies scrambling to fill positions with women because they have to, rather than because they are the most suitable or talented.
But those in favor of Germany’s new law feel that the measure will help improve corporate governance and equality for women, and many hope that it will serve as a model for other countries that have yet to adopt similar legislation.