Gender Inequality

Small Banks Fail to Prioritize Women on Boards

falkengren-Bert Bostelmann-bildfolio
Few women will make it to the top levels of management at German banks like Annika Falkengren has done at Swedish bank SEB.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The percentage of women in managerial positions in the German banking sector, especially at the executive level, is generally in the single digits, although there are exceptions and the industry is moving toward changing this.

  • Facts


    • Women hold only 5.4 percent of the 185 executive positions at Germany’s 50 largest savings banks. At larger German banks they make up 11 percent.
    • According to a recent survey, the advancement of women is near the bottom of the list of priorities of bank and savings bank personnel managers.
    • Germany’s numbers are still woefully low compared to the 23 percent average of women leaders at 220 financial firms across Europe.
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Kerstin Berghoff-Ising is one of the rare women on the board of directors at one of Germany’s more than 400 savings banks.

She’s the head of organization and IT, personnel, and audit and compliance departments at the Sparkasse Hannover, or Hannover Savings Bank, which also happens to be well above the average gender ratio, with a female contingent of 50 percent at the top.

According to a Handelsblatt survey early this year, women hold only 10 of the 185 executive positions at the 50 largest members of the German Savings Bank Finance Group, or DSGV, which are governed by public law. That’s just 5.4 percent of the total.

“The development of management positions takes time,” said Ms. Berghoff-Ising, who joined the board at the end of 2014. “At Sparkasse Hannover, my colleagues were already saying several years ago: ‘We want women at the second level of level of management, with an eye toward the first.'”

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