• Germany edition
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Germany's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
3,437
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
Merkel quashes revolt over female exec quota
Photo: DPA

Merkel quashes revolt over female exec quota

Published: 18 Apr 2013 16:37 CET

The Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, rejected the motion, which called for a 40-percent binding quota for women in supervisory and management boards of large companies within a decade.

After an emotional debate, 320 lawmakers voted 'no', while 277 voted in favour, with one abstention.

Five months ahead of elections, opposition deputies had forced the vote which earlier in the week backed Merkel into a corner after some of her allies threatened to break ranks and help pass the motion.

Urging parliament's support, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a leading member of the centre-left Social Democrats, said if progress continued at the current rate "it will take until the middle of the century until we have 40 percent of supervisory boards occupied by women".

"That is decidedly too late," he said.

Merkel, 58, the first female leader of Europe's top economy and often cited as the world's most powerful woman, has opposed the introduction of compulsory quotas for women in the boardroom. But her Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen has long been a staunch backer of the move and initially had not made it clear whether she would toe the party's line in Thursday's ballot.

At what was described by a senior party member as an "intensive discussion", leaders of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) agreed a compromise Monday to include in its manifesto from 2020 a 30-percent female quota in supervisory boards of large companies.

The move marked a change of course just four months after CDU members backed a flexible approach for companies to voluntarily decide on quotas for women in the boardroom at their party congress.

Merkel appeared to play down her party's internal squabbling.

"Issues of equal treatment, family policy, also the childcare benefit, such things are always discussed by us in the CDU with a great deal of passion," Merkel told Thursday's Bild mass circulation daily.

"And one learns, not all women think alike," she added.

Her spokesman told reporters Wednesday that Merkel's stance in the debate remained unchanged - there must be more women in top business posts.

The compromise succeeded in uniting the CDU, including von der Leyen who is also a deputy leader of the centre-right party, to reject the opposition's draft legislation.

However von der Leyen has faced stiff criticism from within her own party, with Christean Wagner telling the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the minister could not afford another such incident.

"Otherwise she'll endanger the election victory of the Union," he was quoted as saying, referring to Merkel's conservatives.

Media commentators viewed as a setback the change of policy by Merkel, who hopes to clinch a third term in September 22nd general elections, and said it had created bad blood within the conservative bloc.

"Instead of a compromise which everyone can take into the election campaign, there are bloody noses and distrust in the party," the Tagesspiegel commented.

"Because the chief (Merkel) once again didn't commit, everyone involved is in the end standing about embarrassed," it added.

Bild called it a "defeat" for the CDU leadership and Merkel but questioned whether any good could come out of it in the winning of more female votes.

"Whether this turnaround on the quota issue will now send female voters in droves to the CDU may be doubted," it said, suggesting it was about von der Leyen positioning herself for the post-Merkel era.

Merkel's junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democratic Party, opposes fixed quotas. Before the vote FDP parliamentary group chief Rainer Brüderle expressed relief the opposition's attempt to drive a "wedge" into the coalition had failed.

Women made up 4 percent of management board membership among the 200 biggest German companies in 2012, according to a study by the DIW economic research institute.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

Your German Career
What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice.
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
Students at German universities have shown themselves to be a risk-free lot in a survey by Ernst & Young. The civil service is their most popular choice of future profession, while job security is valued above all else.
Jenny Core, originally from Bolton, England, shares her tips in this week’s My German Career on being an artist in Berlin. The 27-year-old exhibits her work regularly in the city, including next to a Turner Prize shortlister.
In this week's JobTalk, Tanya Schober, who is originally from India, talks us through her journey to German citizenship.
In this week's My German Career, Anupama Gopalakrishna, who is originally from Bangalore in India, tells The Local about her new life in Frankfurt.
German Employment News
What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice.
Germany’s Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has given her backing to an anti-stress law, announcing a study into workers' mental health on Tuesday.
Germans could foot the bill for unemployment benefits in other European countries under an EU plan to tax the union's richest states.
What do Germans do in their spare time? More and more of them are working a second job, according to one study. Is work no longer paying enough and can your boss stop you taking a second job?
More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires.
Despite the ease of work visa regulations for non-EU citizens with certain job qualifications, few potential immigrants are taking advantage.

IT Officer (Hardware/Networking)
VFS TasHeel, leaders in Visa Processing and Delivery, is looking for an IT Officer (Frankfurt Office) who will be primary responsible for User Level Support of all VFST/VASCO systems
FULL JOB AD »

Assistant for distribution process management
You will be working in conjunction with our wholesale retailer partners and will be responsible for managing and distribution process of various consumer products. As an effective assistant for distribution process management you will organize product delivery to domestic and international customers, ensure that our clients will receive excellent service experience that we are known for.
FULL JOB AD »

StepStone Deutschland GmbH
Düsseldorf
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

StepStone Deutschland GmbH
Brüssel, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Warschau
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

Celesio AG
Stuttgart
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

Celesio AG
Stuttgart
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

Celesio AG
Stuttgart
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

Deutsche Telekom AG
Frankfurt am Main
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

E.ON Business Services Berlin GmbH
Würzburg
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

E.ON Business Services Berlin GmbH
Würzburg
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

E.ON Business Services Berlin GmbH
Düsseldorf
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14

Celesio AG
Stuttgart
Stepstone
Added 09/02/14