There may soon be more women in power positions in the world of German business under a proposed law from Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government. If passed, the law would force large, publicly traded corporations to have female members make up at least 30 percent of their supervisory boards (which are responsible in part for business strategy) by 2016. In addition, all companies would have to increase the female proportion on their management boards, which conduct regular business.
The law seems likely to pass next month. "We've decided to do this and it will happen," said Merkel in a speech about the new rule, according to Bloomberg. Women currently have just six percent of management board seats in the country.
Big businesses in the country aren't on board with proposed law, including automakers. "BMW as a company doesn't believe in quotas," said spokesperson Jochen Frey to Bloomberg. "While we hold that opinion, we want and strive for diversity in our workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity and age." Currently, 25 percent of Bimmer's supervisory board is female, a bit higher than the national average in Germany of 22 percent.
German car companies are hardly alone when it comes to having a paucity of women in positions of power. Honda only added its first female member to the automaker's board of directors earlier this year, and Toyota and Nissan showed similarly low numbers. A 2013 list from Fortune ranked many of the most powerful women in the auto industry as coming from North America.