Just 11.1 percent of the positions in executive and supervisory boards were held by women, according to Fidar, a women managers' initiative.
The group looked at 160 firms listed on the Dax, MDax, SDax and TecDax share indexes and found 38 companies which had no single women in either the executive or supervisory boards.
The group said that the last two years had seen a 4.6 percent increase in the share of women in such top positions, but said this was far too little.
"It is not enough to bring one woman into the supervisory board. In order for things to change, several women must be in leadership positions of a company," said Fidar President Monika Schulz-Strelow. She said studies had shown that at least 20 or 25 percent of leading positions had to be filled by women for things to change.
On March 31st this year Fidar counted 16.2 percent of supervisory board jobs being done by women - up from 12.8 percent counted in January 2012. But the picture in executive boards was less cheering, with 5.9 percent women now, up from just 3.4 percent at the start of last year.
"Nearly a quarter of Dax companies is completely free of women in their leadership," said Schulz-Strelow.
She called for a legal quota to ensure things changed. "Without [one] the pressure to make a real change is lacking," she said.
"The realization is spreading that having women in the executive and supervisory boards is very good for a company. Yet despite this, companies which simply bring one woman into a leadership position but do not change the culture will simply lose those women again."
Chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly planning to scupper a European Union initiative to introduce a women's quota across the union. A report last month suggested Merkel had sent a written order to Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a known supporter of such a quota in Germany, to tell her to fall in line and oppose an EU quota.