Press Release 099/2009

Hardly Any Women at the Top of German Enterprises

KIT Publishes the Most Comprehensive Study on Women in Management Positions so Far
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Managing top enterprises – a job that still is hardly done by women. (Photo by:

In 2008, only 42 of the 1721 management board members of the 600 leading German enterprises were women – this is a proportion of 2.4%. In supervisory boards, women have a share of 8.2%. In both cases, no clear tendency of an increase in these shares was observed in the past ten years. These are the results of a study made by the KIT Institute of Management. The study focused on the presence of women on the top management level of the 600 most important enterprises in Germany, which are quoted on the stock exchange.

The small proportion of women in German boards and supervisory boards is frequently discussed in the public. So far, however, reliable data have been lacking. The KIT Institute for Enterprise Management has now analyzed the 600 most important enterprises in Germany, which are quoted on the stock exchange (CDAX which also includes DAX30, MDAX, SDAX, and TecDAX). The study was supported by the Initiative for New Quality of Work (INQA) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It focused on the proportion of women in executive boards and supervisory boards of German enterprises and its development from 1998 to 2008. The central result: The share of women in German boards amounted to 2.4% in 2008, compared to 1.2% in 1998. Since 2005, this share has even declined slightly. Few women can also be found in supervisory boards – in particular on the side of the shareholder representatives: In 2008, 307 of the 3758 members of supervisory boards were women (8.2%). 63% of them were representatives of the employees. No clear trend is obvious.

The study covers an average of 6300 positions per year, which corresponds to nearly 70,000 evaluated board and supervisory board years. Hence, it is the largest of its type in Germany. It also considers size-, index-, and branch-specific effects. Based on their results, the authors of the study suggest to shift the focus of discussion to the causes. For this reason, the Institute of Management, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, will now identify criteria and factors influencing the appointment of women to management positions.

About the Study
The study is part of the research activities of the Institute of Management (IBU) in the field of corporate governance supported by Dr. Christine Watrinet. The initiative New Quality of Work (INQA) of the Federal Ministry of Laboor and Social Affairs and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are supporting the project. Within the framework of this research project, the team extensively studies the topic of women in management positions.

Further information on the study and the authors can be found under

The Institute of Management
Research of the Institute of Management focuses on strategic management and strategic business wargaming, corporate governance, and organization management.



Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

le, September 16, 2009


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Prof. Dr. Hagen Lindstädt Leiter des Instituts für Unternehmensführung Tel.: +49 721 608-3431 Fax: +49 721 608-6046 E-Mail: lindstaedt@ibu.

The press release is available as a PDF file.