"Who is in favor of a legally binding female quota in Germany?" Isabell Welpe, a professor for Innovation at TU Munich, starts the discussion round with this questions. The answer of the crowd is mixed. The reason why we need female quota is that there is a structural problem and no real progress has been really made. Looking at big German corporation, there has almost been no change! Ursula von der Leyen's relation to the slow change is one emotion: Anger. She futher elaborates that in the past men supported men because people promote people who are similar to them, However, this homogeneity is dangerous because in order to be successful in the future diversity and heterogeneity is essential.
Gina Lund who co-lead the introduction of the female quota in Norway says that it is the best alternative right now, because otherwise nothing will happen. Antonella Mei-Pochtler, Senior Partner and Managing Director at BCG, agrees with the overall goal to have more women in leadership positions. The issue is the problem of the leaking pipeline, the outer circumstances. However, the inner circle is also important. Women need some reenforcement in their career choices. The discussion with the quota many years ago started with managers explaining why women can't be in management boards. However, the quota for supervisory boards does not make sense, Antonella Mei-Pochtler claims. Because supervisory boards doesn't involve the daily managament of a company. Before introducing the quota in Norway the fear was that there are not enough qualified women. This doesn't turned out to be the problem. The problem was that the quota wasn't that successful in changing the management landscape and the discussion goes further on other tools than a quota. The quota is neither a quick fix nor the only solutions to this general leaddership gap problem.
The overall aim is then to attack the root causes of the low rate of women in leadership positions. According to Antonella Mei-Pochtler these are also the selection criteria in companies. This problem can be solved by changing corporate government transperancy and legally binding KPIs. Ursula von der Leyen wants more direct encouragement for women and people who support them including a spouse who is willing to lean back.
As a take away: Women will and can make it.