The 30 major German companies listed on the blue-chip stock DAX stock index announced on Monday a plan to recruit more female executives.
The plan, dubbed "unique in Europe," calls for voluntary participation by companies to increase the ratio of their female executives, according to a statement issued by the companies.
The 30 DAX companies will offer public bids to female candidates for executive posts at every echelon, from the gross-root tier to the very highest levels of management, said the statement.
"For these companies, voluntary participation is the sustainable and justified route, which renders a fixed rule via legislation superfluous," said the statement.
Female presence as leading business executives in German enterprises remains relatively low, despite efforts over the past decade, study shows.
For example, figures show that female managers account for 28 percent in sportswear producer Adidas, 8 percent in steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and 28.7 percent in Henkel, producer of household products and cosmetics.
German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the statement, saying she expects "clear responses concerning women on the board of directors and supervisory boards, where the money and power are."