Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Deutsche Telekom sets gender quotas

Deutsche Telekom's headquarters in Bonn
Only 13% of Deutsche's top jobs are held by women

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has introduced a quota system to make sure 30% of its upper and middle management positions are held by women by 2015.

Europe's biggest telecoms firm is the first major German firm to do so.

"Having a greater number of women at the top will quite simply enable us to operate better," said the firm's chief executive, René Obermann.

Only some 13% of DT's top positions are held by women, while 60% of Germany's business graduates are female.

"It is not about the enforcement of misconstrued egalitarianism," said Mr Obermann.

"It is a matter of social fairness and a categorical necessity for our success."

Women on board

Quota systems have previously been introduced by governments.

In Norway there is a legal requirement that forces listed companies to have women as 40% of their directors, which has been in place since 2008.

Spain and France have also brought in laws that aim to boost senior women's involvement at board level. Italy and the Netherlands are contemplating similar measures.

In Germany, only 2.5% of all executive board members in the 200 largest companies are women, according to the DIW economic research institute. This research excluded the financial sector.

Siemens is the only major German company in to have a woman on its senior board.

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