The proportion of women in the top management of listed companies in Germany has slowly but steadily increased in recent years - especially in large companies that are in the public eye: In the Dax-40, the proportion of women in the executive committees is now 19.8 percent.

However, family businesses are still lagging behind this development.

According to a census published today by the Allbright Foundation, the proportion of women on the executive boards of large family businesses is just over half that of companies in the Dax, M-Dax and S-Dax.

While the average proportion of women on the executive boards of the 160 companies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is 14.3 percent, only 8.3 percent of the executive boards of the 100 German family businesses with the highest turnover are women.

The key date for the count was March 1, 2022. Little has happened during the pandemic.

Two years ago, the value was only slightly lower at around 7 percent.

Tillman Neuscheler

Editor in Business.

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According to the census, less than a third of the 100 largest German family businesses have a woman on the management board, while the figure for listed companies is around half.

According to the count, those 70 family companies that are completely family-owned lag behind particularly significantly.

The proportion of women here is less than 5 percent and has not changed in the past two years.

Many large family businesses are family-owned by the second, third or fourth generation.

Today, however, they are predominantly run by non-family managers.

Some of the management also consists of a combination of family members and employed managers.

However, women from outside are rarely appointed to the management board.

Of the 100 largest German family companies, management is only headed by a woman in two cases, both from the family: Anna Maria Braun has been at the helm of the medical technology company B. Braun Melsungen since 2019.

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller has held the top position at machine builder Trumpf for much longer than that; she took over as CEO from her father in 2055.

After all, three women are currently at the top of the supervisory board of one of the large family companies: Simone Bagel-Trah at the detergent manufacturer Henkel, Bettina Würth at the screw dealer Würth and Catharina Claas at the agricultural machinery manufacturer Claas.

However, according to the Allbright count, there are 21 male family members who chair the supervisory board.

A look at those family businesses that have dared to go public also shows that a stock market listing is usually associated with a higher proportion of women.

At least 19 of the 100 top-selling family businesses are there, even though the original families – such as BMW, Continental or Henkel – still hold significant shares there, otherwise the companies would no longer be referred to as family businesses.

At 16.4 percent, the proportion of women in listed family businesses is significantly higher than the average for family businesses.

Family businesses are hardly affected by the statutory quota for women: Last year, the Bundestag passed a law on the minimum participation of women.

The law obliges large companies that have at least 2,000 employees and are also subject to the Co-Determination Act to have at least one woman on the board of directors as soon as the board consists of at least four members.

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