Although approximately 46.3% of all employed individuals in the European Union were women in 2022, they are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions. Only about one in three executives (35.1%) were female. In Germany, the proportion of leadership positions held by women was only 28.9%.

Diversity in leadership teams demonstrates a positive correlation with increased financial returns: In recent years, it has been shown that companies with diverse leadership teams are significantly more profitable. European companies with mixed leadership teams have a over 60% higher likelihood of being above-average profitable. This effect has been significantly strengthened during the crisis years since 2020.

Additionally, there is a connection between increased gender diversity in leadership positions and a diversified workforce throughout the entire company. An increase in the proportion of women in leadership positions leads to a rise in the proportion of female employees andexecutives.

The skills are there

A study by Zenger/Folkman shows that women outperform men in 17 out of 19 leadership competencies. Particularly in initiative, resilience, self-development, results orientation, aswell as integrity and honesty, they demonstrate their strengths. Compared to men, women are more proactive, resilient, successful in self-development, results-oriented, integrous, and honest, among other traits. On average, they develop employees and colleagues better, motivate and lead more clearly, and are more successful in building relationships.

The positive trend of increasing the proportion of women in the executive boards of the 160 companies listed in the DAX, MDAX, and SDAX continues: 37% of the executive board positions newly filled between September 2022 and September 2023 were occupied by women. For the first time, companies with women in the executive board (94) outnumber those with exclusively male executive boards (66). However, 71 companies still have only one woman in the executive board, and the proportion of women in executive boards remains low at 17.4%.

The equality of women and men is legally enshrined both at the national and international levels. At the international level, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the most important instrument for the protection and promotion of women’s rights. Signing the convention obligates the contracting states to actively promote the actual equality of women and men in all areas of life. Germany ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985, thereby granting it the status of federal law.

According to Article 3 Paragraph 2 Sentence 2 of the Basic Law, the state actively promotes actual equality between women and men and works to eliminate existing disadvantages.