France sets quota for women in management positions

Status: 16.12.2021 4:29 p.m.

France is getting a quota for women: In all large companies, at least 30 percent of management positions will have to be women in the future. Parliament decided that.

In French companies, a quota for women will apply in future. The French National Assembly today agreed to extend a regulation that already applies to board members to the management positions of large companies. “The time has now come for equality between men and women in business,” said Marie-Pierre Rixain, MP for the ruling LREM party.

According to the text of the law, at least 30 percent of managers must be female from 2027, and the quota will rise to 40 percent from 2030. In order to be able to check the implementation, large companies will in future have to disclose the composition of their management levels. The quota will apply to companies with more than 1000 employees.

44 percent female board members in France

For ten years now, France has had a quota of at least 40 percent women on boards of directors. The introduction there has already been successful: in 2019, almost 44 percent of the seats on the boards of the 120 most important listed companies were occupied by women. For comparison: before the introduction of the quota for women, just ten percent of the committee members were women.

Such a quota has by no means been reached on the executive boards and is more difficult to enforce from outside because, unlike supervisory boards, women directors cannot simply be appointed from outside. In 2019, however, only 19 percent of executives were female: “The glass ceiling between management and the board of directors has remained impermeable,” regretted Equal Opportunities Minister Elisabeth Moreno. With the law passed today, it now wants to take action against it.

In Germany, too, a quota is being used to get more women into management positions: for large companies, new regulations for filling top positions with women came into force in August. The so-called Second Management Positions Act obliges listed companies with equal co-determination with more than 2000 employees and more than three board members to have at least one woman on the board when new positions are filled.

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