Last Friday, Germany, which is headquarters to some of the world’s largest corporations, passed legislation requiring that these companies must give women 30% of the seats on their boards starting next year. Smaller companies will be required to do the same later on. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times on this game-changing move to greater equality for women in the corporate world:
Norway was the first in Europe to legislate boardroom quotas, joined by Spain, France and Iceland, which all set their minimums at 40 percent. Italy has a quota of one-third, Belgium of 30 percent and the Netherlands a 30 percent nonbinding target.
Britain has not legislated boardroom quotas, but a voluntary effort, known as the 30% Club, has helped to substantially increase women’s representation. The group, founded by Helena Morrissey, a money manager, has used persuasion to help double the percentage of women on the boards of major British companies since 2010, to 23 percent.
Unfortunately, a study last year by economists in the U.S. and Norway found that increased female membership on boards did not increase the number of women in executive positions or decrease the gender pay gap. That means we need to push harder here at home for greater representation in the upper ranks of business.