German Cabinet approves women's quota for supervisory boards of country's leading companies

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has approved legislation that will require leading companies to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards from 2016.

Manuela Schwesig, the minister for families and women, on Thursday called the bill "a milestone on the way to more equality."

Women hold just 22 percent of positions on the supervisory boards of companies listed in Germany's benchmark DAX index, according to Economy Ministry figures.

The plan will affect 100 listed companies starting 2016. Companies failing to recruit enough female directors will be barred from giving vacant seats to men.

Norway, Spain, Iceland and France have similar quota requirements. The bill still has to pass Germany's Parliament.