While the BILD readers wonder, whether “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” should introduce a quota for women, the rest of Germany recently discusses the same issue on another level:
Do we need a quota to ensure that women can reach top management positions?
Being a woman, studying economics this topic directly affects my future so I started to gather information and became surprised, how callused the fronts are!
Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants a legally enforceable quota, whereas Family Minister Kristina Schröder even ties her office to “no” concerning the quota.
She rather proposes a voluntary quota.
Yet, while our politicians argue, let’s form our own opinion!
Why have people even come up with the idea of a quota?
As a matter of fact women earn less than their male colleagues and achieve leading positions more rarely.
Advocates of the quota argue that there are plenty of adequately skilled women, thus a quota would establish equality of opportunity and equal rights. However, at the moment men rather support men, what leads to a vicious cycle, women cannot break through.
They are inhibited by the glass ceiling effect.
Christine Lüders, German mandatory for anti-discrimination complains that men do have better networks. “Women are considered perpetrators”, she objects. There are many career programs or elite clubs, only men have access to. Here, informal mentoring and recruiting takes place. And this behavior, that can almost been seen as nepotism, continues although statistics have proven that organizations with a mixed top management perform a better job.
However, many people see this differently:
Their main point is that a quota for women would discriminate against men.
Furthermore it limits the corporate freedom.
Opponents warn that a quota would not establish equality of opportunities but the exact opposite:
By imposing the quota, the applicant’s gender will become the criteria for job offers although it should be achievements and qualifications. Women will be labeled as “token women”.
When asking the German people, 61 percent would like to see companies voluntarily introduce a 30-percent-quota for women in management positions, while 24 percent of Germans want that quota to be written into law. An interesting fact might be that only 17 percent of men shared the latter view.
I, personally, still believe in acknowledgment of qualifications and therefore do not see the necessity of a legally enforceable quota. However, a voluntary quota I would assess desirable. Maybe the future will tell me a lesson.
But until then I think it is up to the organizations, whether they want to be overrun by government regulations or if they want to take own measures. After all, they should be aware of the fact that diversity management is the key to success!