Berlin (dpa) – Following the general agreement on a binding quota for women on executive boards, politicians from the black-red coalition are pushing for the planned law to be passed quickly.
“We want the legislative process to be completed before the general elections,” the vice president of the Union’s parliamentary group, Nadine Schön (CDU), told an online press conference on Sunday. “That is why we have designed the law in such a way that it does not require codetermination by the Federal Council.” The target quota is met with echo divided into the opposition, the economy and among the experts.
According to the agreement reached on Friday evening, a member of the executive boards of listed companies with equal codetermination with more than three members must be a woman no later than after a new appointment. The commitment of the Union working group and the SPD will be presented to the coalition leaders for a final decision in the coming days. Then departmental coordination and the participation of the states and federal associations would begin so that the cabinet’s decision is taken promptly, according to the Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht (SPD).
Lambrecht spoke of a “great success for women in Germany”. The outgoing leader of the CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Monday) that the compromise was “only a first step, but with an important signal effect”.
However, there are many criticisms of the opposition, from different directions. For the spokeswoman for the Greens’ women’s policy in the Bundestag, Ulle Schauws, the project is too timid. “Unfortunately, what the SPD and the Union now have the whole body as the quota for board members can only be described as minimal participation.” After all, the number of women on larger boards does not automatically increase. Furthermore, the rule will only apply to about 70 companies. Left-wing politician Doris Achelwilm spoke of a “micro version” of the quota for women that is well below the mark.
The parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, criticized the binding nature of the guidelines. The leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Alice Weidel, even considers the agreement to be a “slap in the face for all women who have a career based on their own performance and qualifications.”
The Bavarian Economic Association (vbw) also warned about the quota. It means “a usurpation of corporate freedom,” said managing director Bertram Brossardt of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday). Federal Minister for the Family, Franziska Giffey (SPD), on the other hand, is sure that it will not work without some pressure. “Those who rely on voluntary action will only advance at a snail’s pace,” he told the “Rheinische Post” (Monday). The “pure men’s clubs” are simply out of date. According to a report recently released on behalf of the federal government, voluntary self-specifications had little effect on the quota of women on executive boards.
The president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, assumes that companies will also benefit from the requirement, “because many studies show that various board members can be more successful, especially when it comes to the important transformation of the German economy to keep going, ”the economist told“ Handelsblatt ”. The director of the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), Michael Hüther, told the “Rheinische Post” that there had been enough time to equip women with appropriate management qualifications through youth programs. “A quota is always sticky and somehow not a particularly smart instrument, but if smart solutions were just excuses, you shouldn’t be surprised.”
The coalition’s plans set stricter requirements for companies with a majority federal stake. There must be a supervisory board fee of at least 30 percent and a minimum stake on executive boards. A minimum participation of women will also be introduced in public companies such as health insurance and pension and accident insurance institutions, as well as in the Federal Employment Agency.
The vice-president of the Union of Railways and Transport (EVG), Martin Burkert, spoke of a “great step for equality” and sees the railroad as an obligation for its role as a role model. In the past, the EVG had criticized Deutsche Bahn’s attitude towards the advancement of women. The Deutsche Bahn represents the equal participation of women and men and therefore at the initiative of the federal government, a Bahn spokeswoman said on Sunday.
The Union and the SPD had already agreed to improve the law on women in leadership positions in the coalition agreement. At the beginning of the year, Giffey and Lambrecht presented the corresponding bill. The working group was created after differences. Now the politicians involved in the project are rushing in. “We want to go to the cabinet on January 6. That is very ambitious, but it can work, ”said State Minister Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU).