Germany’s top companies must have a woman on the board

Germany requires listed companies to have at least one woman on the board.

Group Of Business People Having Board Meeting Around Glass Table

The German government has agreed landmark legislation which requires listed companies to have at least one woman on their management boards.

The percentage of women on corporate supervisory boards in Germany breached the 30% threshold in 2017 and stood at 35% in November 2020. Women make up only 11.5% of positions on management boards of the largest 100 listed companies in Germany.

The law change applies to firms with more than three management board members and will affect about 70 companies. Around 30 of these do not have one woman on their management board. The UK has adopted voluntary targets for greater gender diversity on boards and while Cranfield School of Management’s most recent annual Female FTSE Board Report,  found that FTSE 350 has reached its 33% target for women on boards before the December deadline set by the Hampton-Alexander Review, it also stated that this had mainly been achieved through non-executive directors. Moreover, the target figure was just an average, with not all individual companies having reached 33%.

The percentage of non-executive directors on FTSE 100 boards was 40.8%, but this compared to the percentage of female executives which stood at only 13.2%. Just four CEOs were female.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a mother on maternity leave who was not invited to a work Christmas party could receive more than £8,000 in damages. An employment tribunal ruled that Catriona Howie, a former general manager at a kitchen and design company, was discriminated against, and the incident had caused “injury to [her] feelings”.

Judge Corinna Ferguson found Holloways of Ludlow Design & Build Ltd trading as Kitchens by Holloways guilty of maternity discrimination. She said that there was no deliberate decision to exclude Howie from the event, but said the reason she was not invited was that no one thought about her because she was on maternity leave.



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