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Merkel Cites Sandberg as She Hosts Talks on More Women on Boards

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that companies hadn’t held to their promise to raise the numbers of women in top posts. Photographer: Franziska Krug/Getty Images for BRIGITTE

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that German companies must do more to raise the “snail’s pace” at which they are appointing women to senior management posts.

Merkel, in opening remarks to a conference in Berlin today with about 75 women in leading positions in business, science, the arts and administration, said that companies hadn’t held to their promise to raise the numbers of women in top posts. While a voluntary commitment on behalf of companies is preferable to legislation now, “something has to move” to overcome the lack of progress to date, she said.

“We have to make sure that more women get leading positions,” Merkel said. “Right now we have a waste of human resources.” She cited recent talks she held with Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, when they discussed some of the “controversial theses” of Sandberg’s book. Merkel didn’t elaborate.

Merkel, who hosted the event in the chancellery under the banner of “reassuring women to take responsibility,” has been criticized by opposition parties for refusing to legislate now to achieve those aims. With federal elections on Sept. 22, Merkel’s coalition rebuffed an opposition move last move to set binding quotas for women on boards with immediate effect, and instead agreed to introduce a quota of 30 percent from 2020.

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