The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post
Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
On 7th March 2015 Germany became the latest country to oblige to improving the representation of women on corporate boards, passing a law that requires some of Europe’s biggest companies to give 30 per cent of supervisory seats to women beginning next year. Less than 20 per cent of the seats on corporate boards in Germany are held by women.Ironically some of the biggest multinational companies in the world are based here, including Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.
This step on Germany’s part has the potential to significantly change the proceedings of corporate governance here and will have repercussions far beyond Germany’s borders. In passing the law, Germany joined a trend in Europe to accomplish what has not happened naturally.
Europe is no stranger to reforms like this. In fact Norway was the first in Europe to legislate boardroom quotas, joined by Spain, France and Iceland. They implemented a minimum of 40% reservation for women in their corporates. Italy has a quota of 33 per cent, Belgium of 30 per cent and the Netherlands a 30 per cent .On the northern front Britain has not legislated boardroom quotas, but a voluntary effort, known as the 30% Club, has substantially increased women’s representation. The United States has also seen women’s representation grow slightly, up to 17 per cent of board seats, without legislative mandates, though its growth has been extremely slow.
On this women’s day it is heartening to see such dreams materialize in reality. In order to break the so called “glass ceiling” many such efforts are required. Now the ball is in women’s court. They have to show that with increased presence in the boardrooms they can bring significant changes to their organizations. This will pave way for further reforms and will silence the critiques.