According to a study, women have so far hardly made it into the top floors of listed former start-ups such as Delivery Hero.

"The young companies repeat the design flaws of the previous generation: They grow without women," write the managing directors of the non-profit Allbright Foundation, Wiebke Ankersen and Christian Berg, in the study.

The German-Swedish foundation advocates more women and diversity in management positions in business.

In the ten companies that were founded in the past 15 years and are represented in one of the Dax family indices, the proportion of women on the executive board is 5.4 percent.

The average for the 160 companies from Dax, MDax and SDax is 12.6 percent.

"With the IPO, or at the latest with the inclusion in one of the Dax indices, the companies reach a size and a degree of maturity that require a different entrepreneurial self-image than a start-up," argued Ankersen and Berg.

With the exception of the online furniture retailer Home24 and the pharmaceutical company Medios, according to the study, all board members of the young companies that have been listed in one of the Dax indices for a maximum of five years are exclusively made up of men.

Many of the newcomers to the stock exchange were previously start-ups that are mostly founded by men in Germany.

“New executives are primarily recruited from the founder's personal network,” says the study.

The board members are more often male and more often economists than the average of the companies in the Dax family.

"The founders often surround themselves with people who are very similar to them and hold on to them."

At least one woman on the board

On April 1, 98 men and 11 women worked on the boards of the 30 companies that made their way into Dax, MDax or SDax in the past five years.

This corresponds to a proportion of women of 10.2 percent.

The situation is different in the top floors of spin-offs from traditional corporations that went public as separate companies.

The proportion of women is said to be 17.2 percent there.

These companies are often already familiar from the parent company with the strategic importance of a diverse management team.

The Bundestag recently decided that in listed companies with equal co-determination with more than 2,000 employees and more than three board members, at least one woman must sit on the board in future.

This must be taken into account when filling new posts.

Other listed or co-determined companies that do not fall under the requirement should in future have to justify if they plan to run the board without women - that is, if they state a “target value zero” in their reports.

If this does not happen, there is a risk of fines.

The law still has to be passed by the Federal Council.

According to the Allbright Foundation, Delivery Hero is the only company in the top league of the 30 DAX companies that still specifies the “target size zero”.

In its annual report, the company declares that the composition of the management board has proven itself.

"Of course, this does not rule out an increase in the proportion of women at this management level."