Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications giant behind T-Mobile, announced plans Monday to introduce a gender quota for management positions. The company aims to have 30 percent of its middle and upper management positions filled by women by 2015.
Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Rene Obermann told the Institute of Commercial Management, “taking on more women in management positions is not about the enforcement of misconstrued egalitarianism. It is a matter of social fairness and a categorical necessity for our success. Having a greater number of women at the top will quite simply enable us to operate better.”
Currently, there is a debate between whether self-regulation by companies such as Deutsche Telekom or legislation is the best way to increase the number of women in managerial positions in European companies. Elke Holst of the German Institute for Economic Research told Deutsche Welle that “as an economist, [she is] for self-regulation and creating voluntary incentives for companies to hire women,” but personall feels “too little has happened and stronger action, such as legislation, may be necessary.” Kristina Schroeder, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth disagrees. Schoeder told the Institute of Commercial Management she believes “A legally prescribed quote for women on supervisory boards must be the very last resort.”
According to Deutsche Welle, women are only 32 percent of the company’s 130,000 employees in Germany and hold only 13 percent of middle and upper management positions. In the 200 largest German companies, only 2.5 percent of executive board members are women, despite the fact that women are 60 percent of the countries business school graduates, reported the BBC.