The goal is more women in management positions.

The efforts of the economy to further improve the employment and career opportunities of women are increasingly showing success: The proportion of women in management positions has increased significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, there is still a need to catch up; in some cases, there is a lack of suitable female candidates or those who are willing to take on a corresponding position. Legal quotas are the wrong way to go, because quotas do not address the reasons for the different representation of women and men in management positions.

Further progress is possible in particular if, in addition to the economy, the state also makes its contribution. This includes, above all, the promotion of a stereotype-free vocational orientation and the further expansion of demand-covering, high-quality and affordable childcare and all-day school offers.

The proportion of women in management positions is increasing.
  • In the private sector, 26% of top-level managers were women. At the second management level, their share was 40 %. In eastern Germany, women are somewhat more common in management. At both management levels, the proportion is around 6 percentage points higher than in western Germany, and at the second management level women are even represented in proportion to their share of employees, at 45 %. (). The importance of suitable framework conditions such as childcare and role models is evident here.
  • German companies have taken up the challenge of implementing the requirements of the law on the so-called women's quota, as confirmed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Justice. Thus, all companies subject to the quota have met the quota. In terms of targets, the companies concerned have for the most part set themselves ambitious targets for the supervisory board, management board and the two levels below the management board. Where this is not the case in individual cases, it is because boards are very small, existing contracts are being fulfilled or suitable female candidates are not available.
  • More than 28 % of the supervisory boards of the 200 companies with the highest turnover in Germany were made up of women. An increase to over 10 % was recorded on the management boards in 2019 ().
  • Many social developments are promoting this trend: the traditional role models of older generations, according to which a professional career was primarily reserved for men, are losing importance. Women's employment is on the rise and more and more mothers are returning to work earlier and for longer hours.
  • Women's qualifications have become increasingly better. While in older cohorts men have higher qualifications on average, this has now reversed: women now make up the larger proportion of people with A-levels or university degrees (Stat. Bundesamt, 2019).
Legal quotas miss the root causes of career differences between women and men.
  • A quota only addresses the symptoms and not the causes of the lower proportion of women in management positions. These include, above all, more frequent career breaks, a lower volume of working hours and women's career choices. In order to bring about changes in this area, it is necessary, among other things, to further expand high-quality, affordable childcare and all-day schooling options that meet demand, as well as to make further efforts to promote family-friendly personnel policies.
  • Cliché-free study and career guidance is necessary to attract more women to the STEM industries, which are particularly promising and associated with higher positions. The initiative is a first step towards study and career guidance that is free of role clichés.
  • Only if we succeed in further sustainably improving the labour force participation and career development of women will more women be able to reach positions that qualify them for a position on the management or supervisory board of a company. A statutory quota creates the risk that necessary efforts to promote the careers of women, for example to better reconcile family and career, will be omitted or terminated.
Strengthening the partnership-based division of gainful employment and care work - overcoming traditional role models
  • In 2019, 93 % of employed fathers were working full-time, while only 7 % were working part-time. Among mothers, the ratio was reversed: of them, 28 % were in full-time employment and 72 % were in part-time employment (Federal Statistical Office) - partly due to a lack of childcare facilities. The aim must be to design the childcare infrastructure and the division of gainful employment and care work between partners in such a way that it is possible for all mothers who wish to do so to pursue full-time or near-full-time gainful employment.
  • In order for more women to reach management positions, all social actors should contribute to enabling women to become more involved in professional life. Here it is important to overcome traditional family and role models and to support women on their career paths.