The German federal cabinet meeting passed a draft law recently, imposing a mandatory requirement on the proportion of women in the management of German Enterprises: from 2022, German listed enterprises with a certain scale must have at least one female director if there are more than three board members; in enterprises with federal government participation, if there are more than two board members, there must be one female director.
The new rules are the latest development of Germany’s “national strategy for gender equality”, which will be submitted to the Federal Parliament for deliberation. In July 2020, the German federal government approved the first “national strategy for gender equality”, which requires the federal government to adhere to gender equality when formulating any laws, regulations and funding plans. The strategy proposes that to achieve the goal of gender equality, three challenges must be met: first, men and women should have equal income and shoulder the responsibility of “equal parenting, housework and nursing”; second, men and women should equally participate in political, economic, cultural and scientific activities; third, the federal government should achieve gender equality in all political fields. To this end, the German federal government has put forward nine strategic objectives, including equal pay for equal work, equal division of labor, elimination of stereotypes, equal opportunities in the fields of politics, economy and culture, and formulated 67 specific implementation measures, including requiring primary schools to provide full care services, and strengthening support for female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and scholars.
At present, the income gap between men and women in Germany is still wide. According to the latest data of the German Federal Bureau of statistics, the average income of German women in 2019 is 19% lower than that of men, which is higher than the average level of 15% of the income gap between men and women in the European Union. As women generally need to take care of their children, take care of household chores and other affairs, their career is generally forced to be interrupted, and their pensions are greatly reduced. It is understood that the wage gender gap in Germany leads to a pension gap of up to 50%.
A report released by Sweden Germany Albright foundation in September 2020 also shows that among the 30 large listed companies included in the DAX index, the proportion of female executives is only 12.8%, which is the lowest level since 2017, significantly lagging behind the major European and American economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The report also shows that the number of DAX index companies without female directors has increased from six in 2019 to 11 at present.
Promoting gender equality in the economic field is the focus of the German government’s work in recent years. In 2015, Germany passed a law requiring 30% female members on the board of supervisors of large listed companies with more than 2000 employees. In 2017, the German Bundestag passed the wage Transparency Act, stipulating that in enterprises with more than 200 employees, female employees have the right to know the salary level of male employees engaged in similar work; enterprises with more than 500 employees must introduce evaluation procedures to promote equal pay for equal work.
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