Germany Imposes Quota of 30 Percent Women On Corporate Boards

250px-Direktorium_LDEThe debate of the fairness and efficacy of quota systems heated up this week after German legislators have passed a law requiring the top 100 companies to allot at least 30 percent of the seats on their boards to women within the next two years. The bill also mandated increased in women in upper level positions for some 3,500 companies. The companies could face sanctions if they cannot find enough women to fill the quota.

I have long been a critic of quota systems and this is no exception. While I certainly agree with the motivation behind the law, the emphasis of regulations should be to tear down barriers to women — not to force hiring based on gender. I am a firm believer that the market works against discriminatory values and practices. Women have made amazing strides in business and politics, as vividly shown by the leadership of Germany by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There is clearly an underrepresentation of women on these boards. However, the way to erase that differential is to guarantee opportunities for women and to combat discriminatory practices in my view.

What do you think?

Source: NBC

328 thoughts on “Germany Imposes Quota of 30 Percent Women On Corporate Boards”

  1. Prairie Rose,

    I fault both politicians and wealthy business people–including hedge fund managers–who have involved themselves in reforming our public schools.

    *****

    Here’s a story you may find interesting:

    The Plot Against Public Education
    How millionaires and billionaires are ruining our schools.
    By BOB HERBERT
    October 06, 2014
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/the-plot-against-public-education-111630.html#.VRaxeVw-DBI

    Excerpt:
    Bill Gates had an idea. He was passionate about it, absolutely sure he had a winner. His idea? America’s high schools were too big.

    When a multibillionaire gets an idea, just about everybody leans in to listen. And when that idea has to do with matters of important public policy and the billionaire is willing to back it up with hard cash, public officials tend to reach for the money with one hand and their marching orders with the other. Gates backed his small-schools initiative with enormous amounts of cash. So, without a great deal of thought, one school district after another signed on to the notion that large public high schools should be broken up and new, smaller schools should be created.

    This was an inherently messy process. The smaller schools—proponents sometimes called them academies—would often be shoehorned into the premises of the larger schools, so you’d end up with two, three or more schools competing for space and resources in one building. That caused all sorts of headaches: Which schools would get to use the science labs, or the gyms? How would the cafeterias be utilized? And who was responsible for policing the brawls among students from rival schools?

  2. Elaine,
    Thanks for the article. The biometrics bracelets being developed by Gates sound particularly creepy.

    I did think, though, that the article focused too heavily on the culpability of business people/corporations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Waltons, Pearson, and not enough on the culpability of our federal representatives/administrators.

    “While it is true that the corporate reform moguls are completely out of touch with the vast majority of people, their strategy for remaking our schools on a business model is not the result of ignorance but of arrogance, not of misunderstanding but of the profit motive, not of silliness but rather of a desire for supremacy.”

    Replace “corporate reform moguls” with politicians and the sentence really has the same meaning. 🙁

    Dao Tran does call out “officials” in the article, but it is still the juxtaposition of the super-rich with business that practically lets the government off the hook:

    “The superrich are not failing to understand the basics of how to provide a nurturing education for the whole child. The problem is that they believe this type of education should be reserved only for their own children.”

    I have a distinct sense that far too many politicians on the Hill look down upon their constituents as the unwashed masses. Politicians can be just as arrogant and self-serving as corporatists; why else are we in this school reform mess if it wasn’t for government’s involvement?

  3. Elaine,
    From the article:
    “Moreover, while Gates, President Obama, and Secretary of Education Duncan are all parents of school-age children, none of those children attend schools that use the CCSS or take Common Core exams.”

    Isn’t this true of most of our dearly elected representatives? I’ve heard that anyhow. That most send their kids to private schools.

  4. The following article was just posted today. It’s an excerpt from Jesse Hagopian’s book “More Than a Score”:

    A Brief History of the “Testocracy,” Standardized Testing and Test-Defying
    http://www.truth-out.org/progressive-picks/item/29847-a-brief-history-of-the-testocracy-standardized-testing-and-test-defying

    Excerpt:
    Who are these testocrats who would replace teaching with testing? The testocracy, in my view, does not only refer to the testing conglomerates—most notably the multibillion-dollar Pearson testing and textbook corporation—that directly profit from the sale of standardized exams. The testocracy is also the elite stratum of society that finances and promotes competition and privatization in public education rather than collaboration, critical thinking, and the public good. Not dissimilar to a theocracy, under our current testocracy, a deity—in this case the exalted norm-referenced bubble exam—is officially recognized as the civil ruler of education whose policy is governed by officials that regard test results as divine. The testocratic elite are committed to reducing the intellectual and emotional process of teaching and learning to a single number—a score they subsequently use to sacrifice education on the altar devoted to high-stakes testing by denying students promotion or graduation, firing teachers, converting schools into privatized charters, or closing schools altogether. You’ve heard of this program; the testocracy refers to it as “education reform.”

    Among the most prominent members of the testocracy are some of the wealthiest people the world has ever known. Its tsars include billionaires Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and members of the Walton family (the owners of Walmart), who have used their wealth to circumvent democratic processes and impose test-and-punish policies in public education. They fund a myriad of organizations—such as Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach for America, and Stand for Children—that serve as shock troops to enforce the implantation of high-stakes testing and corporate education reform in states and cities across the nation. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan serves to help coordinate and funnel government money to the various initiatives of the testocracy. The plan to profit from public schools was expressed by billionaire media executive Rupert Murdoch, when he said in a November 2010 press release: “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.”

  5. DBQ,
    “When I became licensed for my financial business, I had to take the self study testing for the Series 7, then later Series 65. Both very difficult tests so I rigorously used the testing materials to find out where I was missing. Later I put myself though the CFP program and those tests were even harder.”

    I brought up ABCs and colors because as kids, we typically learn those in a fun, engaging context–songs, games, life situations (“Mommy, what’s this letter?”, pointing to a humongous T at Target; or, reading fun books).

    So, I intended to ask, what do you like to learn for fun? How well do you retain information you’ve learned for fun? My husband and I share what we’ve read about; in the midst of the narration, I learn what I need to brush up on or what knowledge is missing (either because I realize I’ve forgotten something or my husband asks a question). Doing something hands-on also helps me recognize what I’ve learned and what needs review. The same kinds of things work for my kids.

    Math tests, like on Khan Academy, are effective at seeing whether you’ve learned to add fractions, though. 🙂 We like Khan Academy, too.

  6. happypappies,
    “That means that teachers should be paid well because they are so important right???”

    Yes. However, as public servants, there are constraints because the funding for education comes from property taxes. There is only so much money in the system. A community, to the best of its ability, should work to make sure teachers are as well-paid as possible so that teachers want to stay.

    In some ways, though, having a degree of self-determination in the classroom can go a long way to counter-balancing the pay. When a teacher feels like she can control what/how they teach (within reason), she is probably more likely to be accepting of less-than-stellar pay.

    Teachers’ self-determination, in many communities, is eroding or is already eroded, I fear. Elaine could probably speak to such concerns better than I can.

    “because the economy is the way it is, why can’t we start teaching adults to plan their families when one of them can stay home the first 5 years at least with a child. Seriously. It is NOT fair to the child to be sick and pushed aside by a tired hard working parent much less by 2. Now, I know you can’t always plan these things but can’t we start educating parents and people this way as it makes sense in the long run for the Children?”

    Who is we? The government?
    I agree with you, overall, that it is typically best for children to have one parent stay at home, particularly in their younger years. That said, I know lots of working parents who were able to balance work and family. It was very difficult and took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but they were able to do it, and they raised great kids.

    For me, staying at home is a choice. I want people to be able to make choices that work best for them. I agree that people should be well-educated about child development so they can make informed choices, but, people should not be required by the government to learn such things.

    1. Prairie Rose

      Considering myself a Classical Liberal in the John Locke tradition, when I say “we” regarding education, I am saying word of mouth.

      Such as Blogs, Information, Studies, Facebook and planning events such as maybe 5K runs to get the information out.

      Never ever ever the Government. I am the Church lady on here lolol 😉

  7. Elaine,
    “I believe students take the PARCC tests online/on a computer.”

    Ugh. I despise taking tests on the computer. I wonder how this method affects students’ scores?

    “I do believe that both NCLB and the Race to the Top initiative have harmed rather than improved public education in this country. I have been out of education for over a decade. Our state used to set its own educational standards and curriculum frameworks–which educators helped to write. Local communities have control over how the standards/frameworks are implemented…and which textbooks/educational materials are selected for their schools.”

    This indicates that you don’t like this aspect of federal involvement in education. And, that you think highly of how the state used to set its own educational standards, especially since educators helped write them. It sounds like you do want the federal government out of education, at least to some degree.

    What do you think would be the ideal relationship between the federal government and state government regarding education?

  8. happypappies,
    “did not know if she felt I was too ill informed to be asking questions”

    As far as I can tell, Elaine is a good teacher. A good teacher will not have this attitude. 🙂

  9. Happypappies,
    “What I also understood you to say is that you wanted the Federal Government out of your hair and the State Government handling the Schools. I understood you to say that would work better.”

    Elaine wrote about concerns regarding unprecedented federal intrusion into education by way of NCLB and Race to the Top. She thinks the federal government has caused problems, but she did not say she wanted them out.

    I replied to DBQ about wanting to get the federal government out of education. The funding does help struggling schools fill monetary gaps, but I am concerned that it is just too tempting then to meddle in how the state manages its schools. Meddle they have. Elaine noted that Massachusetts did have high standards and high achievement rates all on their own. I think it was in your article, Elaine (correct me if I’m wrong), that MA lowered its standards to match Common Core.

    From happypappies to Elaine,
    “If a teacher is unable to process an essay question in a grade imo, she/he should not be teaching. I am sure you would have not problem with that because you have a superior grasp of language and that’s what teachers are supposed to do. This was my original frustration actually. Poor teaching quality.”

    Perhaps Elaine could chime in on this point, too. It is my sense that part of the poor teaching quality stems from the unfair attitudes surrounding the teaching profession (if you can’t do, teach) and the, in my opinion, rather low GPAs required (at least at my alma mater) to graduate as an education major. Yes, there is (now) an exam that prospective teachers must pass in order to become certified, but it was wicked easy, I thought.

    Also, I am not sure that poor teaching quality is the primary problem. Part of the problem may be the health of the students. Could the deteriorating health of kids be lowering scores (increased obesity, ADD, type II diabetes, asthma, etc.). A shot in the dark perhaps, but perhaps something worth investigating.

    1. Prairie Rose

      Thank you for helping out with said salient points. I have read Elaine’s link twice already and I understood the article but I thought there might be more to it thus my point to her. I really thought she was the one who said that about the government and honestly did not know if she felt I was too ill informed to be asking questions. But I don’t know how else to find anything out. I realize she doesn’t teach anymore but she seems so interested with her Grandchildren so that is why I asked her.

      I agree that there should be an interest in teaching quality. We had some atrocious teachers. DOJ is taking funding away Universities if they pursue sexual harassment suits. It is like this is a Ouroboros and I don’t know what to do to stop the government from misappropriating funds at every level of education. Wait! That means that teachers should be paid well because they are so important right???

      Also, I am not sure that poor teaching quality is the primary problem. Part of the problem may be the health of the students. Could the deteriorating health of kids be lowering scores (increased obesity, ADD, type II diabetes, asthma, etc.). A shot in the dark perhaps, but perhaps something worth investigating.

      Okay – lets break this down. – because the economy is the way it is, why can’t we start teaching adults to plan their families when one of them can stay home the first 5 years at least with a child. Seriously. It is NOT fair to the child to be sick and pushed aside by a tired hard working parent much less by 2. Now, I know you can’t always plan these things but can’t we start educating parents and people this way as it makes sense in the long run for the Children?

  10. happypappies,

    I don’t recall saying anything about the federal or the state government. I do believe that both NCLB and the Race to the Top initiative have harmed rather than improved public education in this country. I have been out of education for over a decade. Our state used to set its own educational standards and curriculum frameworks–which educators helped to write. Local communities have control over how the standards/frameworks are implemented…and which textbooks/educational materials are selected for their schools. Our state recently adopted the Common Core State Standards. I think about 50% of the school districts here will be administering the PARCC tests this spring.

    The government didn’t correct the multiple the multiple choice tests. Machines did. I believe students take the PARCC tests online/on a computer.

    The surveillance was being conducted by educational/test publisher Pearson. I believe the state of New Jersey was cooperating with Pearson. You can check it out for yourself. I left a link to an article on the subject upthread.

  11. happypappies,

    I was attempting to make a point about writing tests–which students were given in elementary school starting in grade three after the MCAS tests were implemented in my state when I was still teaching. I think one can be a competent writer and fail a test…or not score well on it.

    Multiple choice tests are fine if used in a limited way. They can be one part of a student’s educational assessment.

    Teachers didn’t grade their own students’ writing tests that were part of the MCAS battery of standardized tests. Those tests were collected and corrected elsewhere.

    I am against the mania for high-stakes testing. It’s gotten out of hand and is perverting public education in this country. I have a negative opinion of both NCLB and Race to the Top.

    1. Elaine M

      What I also understood you to say is that you wanted the Federal Government out of your hair and the State Government handling the Schools. I understood you to say that would work better.

      I understand that a mixture on the testing is best. Why do you have to turn them in now. Do they grade your tests? The government? That must be what you mean by surveillance. That is freaking micromanagement. Pardon my ignorance but it has been a long time

  12. Not the whole test. You know – use a multiple choice for part of the test. We did that when we were young

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