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Proportion of Women on Top-Decision Making Bodies of Large Companies Increasing, Except on Supervisory Boards in the Financial Sector

DIW Weekly Report 4/5 / 2020, S. 32-42

Anja Kirsch, Katharina Wrohlich

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The share of women on executive boards of large companies in Germany has increased somewhat more strongly than in previous years. The top 200 companies reached the ten percent mark for the first time: women held 14 more board positions than in the previous year, 94 out of 907. Growth was also somewhat more dynamic on the executive boards of the largest listed companies and companies with government- owned shares as well as those of banks and insurance companies. Nevertheless, this does not mean that a serious rethinking of policies and practices has begun at the upper management levels. Upon closer inspection, growth in the proportion of women managers, especially when observed over a longer period of time, is progressing only in small steps. Furthermore, the proportion of women on supervisory boards has increased at a slower pace than in previous years, and has even decreased in banks and insurance companies. Societal and political pressure to appoint more women to management positions could soon intensify. Companies should urgently increase their efforts to work towards gender parity—for their own benefit, and taking into consideration their need for highskilled workers in the future.

Katharina Wrohlich

Head in the Gender Economics Department

JEL-Classification: D22;J16;J59;J78;L21;L32;M14;M51
Keywords: corporate boards, board composition, boards of directors, boarddiversity, Europe, women directors, gender equality, gender quota, Germany,management, private companies, public companies, supervisory boards, executiveboards, CEOs, women, finance industry, financial sector, private and public banks,insurance companies.

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