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CSR and Gender Equality in Germany

A success story of bridging the gap between genders

August 31st, 2018
Olena Momotko, News from Berlin
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“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is well known for promoting environmental sustainability goals but rather less known for promoting social sustainability goals. So far, the potential of CSR to promote EU policy goals for gender equality is hardly recognized by the public.” - Irmgard Schultz, Institute for Social-Ecological Research

Starting in March 2018 the German parliament passed a new law requiring the country's biggest companies to appoint women to 30% of the seats on their non-executive boards from 2016. The plan is to increase the quota to 50%.

The good example of successful gender equality rules implementing is Adidas. “An absolutely essential piece of the puzzle is the understanding that you simply can’t have innovation without diversity,” they say. That reflects not only gender diversity, but also promotes international background and LGBT-friendly community. The company reached their global target of 32% of women in leadership eighteen months prior to their goal date and still continue pushing the envelope.

Addidas is only one example of improvements in this field. Speaking of diversity, we can give honour also to another German Financial company – Allianz, with 37% females in Manager positions. Women represented 52.4% of their total workforce in core business. The target for women in top management positions in our German companies is at least 20% women at the first and second levels below the Board by June 2017.

Important to mention that large companies with more technical field struggled to achieve this rate of 30%. Take Volkswagen, for example that managed to gain 30% rate just in previous year. Apart from special trainings for females, they took as a starting point the proportion of female graduates in each discipline, so that, for example, around 10% of all the mechanical or electrical engineers they recruit should be women. This rises to 50% in business administration. When all the disciplines relevant to Volkswagen’s work are averaged out, these differentiated quotas produce a recruitment target of at least 30% female graduates. In the 2017 report, around 30% of graduate recruits at Volkswagen AG were female.

Many people are opposed to fixing binding quotas for women, arguing that unqualified people may be given positions in order to satisfy the rules. However, we should remember that nowadays we’re living in a global culture of plurality where all perspectives are valid.


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