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Glass ceiling

November 27, 2010

The number of women managing German companies is lower than in other industrialized nations, according to a new study. It shows that just two percent of top executives are female.

Regine Stachelhaus
Regine Stachelhaus of E.ON is an exception in GermanyImage: DW/ Sandra Petersmann

Women are a rarity in top-level positions in Germany. That’s according to a new international study that puts Germany in last place, alongside with India, for the proportion of women in executive-level jobs in top companies. The data shows that 98 percent of German businesses are managed by men.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel published the research conducted by management consultants McKinsey. The study looked at 362 companies listed on the stock exchanges of 11 leading economies.

Germany came in joint last place with India. Sweden topped the list, with 17 percent of executive jobs filled by women. The United States and Britain were just behind the Scandinavians, with 14 percent.

Women are the exception, rather than the rule

Barbara Kux
Barbara Kux was the first woman on the Siemens boardImage: picture-alliance/dpa

In Germany, there are very few women at the top of leading companies. The two major exceptions are Barbara Kux of Siemens, and Regine Stachelhaus, who was appointed as head of human resources at the German energy giant E.ON in the summer of 2010. She previously directed UN children's fund Unicef in Germany.

Germany performed slightly better in terms of the number of women sitting on boards of directors. According to the McKinsey study, women filled 13 percent of positions on such boards in German companies. But Scandinavian countries topped this table as well. In Norway, 32 percent of board members are female, while in Sweden 27 percent are women.

Author: Joanna Impey (dapd, epd)
Editor: Ben Knight