People - 23.11.2016 - 00:00 

From a legal perspective, there is nothing standing in the way of Gender Diversity

From a legal perspective, women and men are equal. Nevertheless, women are clearly underrepresented at board and management level. The fact that “Gender Diversity” is possible in corporate management is something that Christian Rioult discovered in his doctoral thesis.

25 November 2016. "Gender Diversity" is being discussed intensively in society and politics. In the corporate management of listed companies and private companies, women are clearly underrepresented at board and management level. The Federal Council has therefore suggested that listed companies should implement a gender quota on executive and management boards. In his doctoral thesis “Gender Diversity in Corporate Management”, Christian Rioult investigated which legal measures companies can take to increase the percentage of women within corporate management.

Promotion of women legally possible

Christian Rioult’s doctoral thesis shows that implementing Gender Diversity within corporate management is already possible today by defining the duties and tasks of the executive and management boards appropriately. “From a legal perspective, companies have numerous possibilities under current law for promoting women within corporate management,” says Rioult. The companies can formulate the articles of association and organisational rules in such a way that both genders must be represented with a certain percentage on the executive and management boards.

Proposal of the Federal Council analysed

As gender quotas in companies are already possible from a legal perspective, Christian Rioult also analysed the proposal of the Federal Council regarding the introduction of a compulsory gender quota for the executive and management boards of listed companies. “There are numerous sound reasons for and against the introduction of gender quotas in corporate management.” His analysis led to the result that a gender quota specified by the state should be viewed rather critically. Rioult doubts that the profound changes in business and society, which would be needed to realise gender diversity within corporate management, can be enforced with measures implemented by the state. Rather, the state should focus on establishing the framework conditions, which would be needed for ensuring a balance of career and family.

The wish: Objective discussions

The discussions on gender diversity are often too emotional and personal. Rioult hopes that his doctoral thesis can contribute towards establishing a certain objectivity – with legal practitioners, but also legislators and thus within politics. In order to be able to apply his scientific findings in practise in the future, he is currently preparing for his bar examination.

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