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German Parliament approves quota requiring 30 percent female directors at biggest companies

  • FILE - In this June 4, 2014 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister for Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig, from left, attend a cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany. Germany’s Parliament has approved a quota system that will require leading companies in Europe’s biggest economy to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards starting next year. Lawmakers from Merkel’s governing coalition backed the legislation Friday, March 6, 2015, while opposition lawmakers who argued that it didn’t go far enough abstained. (AP Photo/dpa, Maurizio Gambarini, File)

    FILE - In this June 4, 2014 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister for Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig, from left, attend a cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany. Germany’s Parliament has approved a quota system that will require leading companies in Europe’s biggest economy to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards starting next year. Lawmakers from Merkel’s governing coalition backed the legislation Friday, March 6, 2015, while opposition lawmakers who argued that it didn’t go far enough abstained. (AP Photo/dpa, Maurizio Gambarini, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and German Minister of Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig talk during a session of parliament in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 6, 2015. Germany’s Parliament has approved a quota system that will require leading companies in Europe’s biggest economy to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards starting next year. Lawmakers from Merkel’s governing coalition backed the legislation Friday while opposition lawmakers who argued that it didn’t go far enough abstained. (AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache)

    German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and German Minister of Family Affairs Manuela Schwesig talk during a session of parliament in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 6, 2015. Germany’s Parliament has approved a quota system that will require leading companies in Europe’s biggest economy to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards starting next year. Lawmakers from Merkel’s governing coalition backed the legislation Friday while opposition lawmakers who argued that it didn’t go far enough abstained. (AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache)  (The Associated Press)

Germany's Parliament has approved a quota system that will require leading companies in Europe's biggest economy to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards starting next year.

Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition backed the legislation Friday, while opposition lawmakers who argued that it didn't go far enough abstained.

The quota will apply to more than 100 listed companies from 2016. Another 3,500 firms will be required to set targets to raise the number of women in leadership positions.

A recent study by the German Institute for Economic Research found that last year, women accounted for 18.6 percent of the supervisory board members — the German equivalent of directors — at the country's biggest 100 companies.

Norway, Spain and France among others already have quota requirements.