The German cabinet, led by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and coalition partner Social Democrats (SPD) pushed through a draft law that would require public companies to have a 30 percent quota for women on their boards by 2016.
Under the proposed law, small business would also see quotas put in place for the number of leadership positions offered to women, although the penalties that the roughly 108 publicly traded companies would face will not carry over to them. Small businesses will have a suggested number based on a sliding scale and in 2017 would have to regularly report on their progress.
This proposed quota legislation is a “milestone on the path of equality” according to Manuela Schwesig, minister of family affairs. “This legislation is the start of a process which will change the leadership and business culture in our country.”
Not everyone in the German government is in favor of the approves draft law however. The Christian Social Union (CDU) has been the most vocal against the law, citing potential damage to Germany’s economy if a quota is instituted.