Improving gender balance on company boards: extracts from the press conference by Viviane REDING, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Type: NEWS   Référence: 89738   Durée: 00:03:46   Première transmission: 14/11/2012  Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EC
Fin de production: 14/11/2012
On 12 November, Viviane Reding, EC Vice-President in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, presented a legislation proposing a 40% objective of women on company boards. Today the Commission has proposed legislation with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the underrepresented sex in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of small and medium enterprises. Currently, boards are dominated by one gender: 85% of non-executive board members and 91.1% of executive board members are men, while women make up 15% and 8.9% respectively. Despite an intense public debate and some voluntary initiatives at national and European level, the situation has not changed significantly in recent years: an incremental average increase of the number of women on boards of just 0.6 percentage points per year has been recorded.

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00:00:00 Title 00:00:05
00:00:05 Viviane Reding, EC Vice-President in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, arriving 00:00:03
00:00:08 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:05
00:00:13 SOUNDBITE (in English) Viviane Reding: It is an historic day for gender balance and for equality. After decades of empty promises and failed attempts for regulation, we still have an 85% male quota on the boards of the supervisory Europe's largest companies. Women only make 15%. Now this is a waste of talent when you think that 60% are women. And that is why the Commission is taking action. 00:00:44
00:00:57 Cutaway of journalists 00:00:03
00:01:00 SOUNDBITE (in English) Viviane Reding: So what are we proposing today a legally biding directive introducing 40% rule in article 4.3. It says that if a company does not have 40 % of women on its supervisory board, it will have to choose qualify women until it reaches the 40%. But it will have it choose qualified women and this is very important. It is not about women just getting job on board because they are female, but it is about women to have an equal chance to male because they are qualified. 00:00:48
00:01:48 Cutaway of journalists 00:00:04
00:01:52 SOUNDBITE (in English) Viviane Reding: And our proposal has teeth. Member States have to lay down effective and dissuasive sanctions for companies in bridge of the directive. If a company has less than 40% of the under-represented sex on its board, it will have to fill the posts with equally qualified women. And if does not do so, well there will be sanctions, the sanctions are inscribed in the legal proposal, they have to be effective and dissuasive, for example financial fees or the annulment of the appointment of the male candidates. 00:00:48
00:02:40 Cutaway of journalists 00:00:05
00:02:45 SOUNDBITE (in English) Olli Rehn: I am very glad to see that the Commission today has given its approval to a stronger legal instrument and a political signal that it is time to move in the field of gender equality. I wanted to be associated to this proposal. First of all, because for its goal of achieving a higher and fairer share of women in business leadership and economic decision making. The other reason is that the direct association to my portfolio of economic and monetary affairs. There is a clear economic and business case to have more women in business leadership. 00:00:51
00:03:36 Cutaway of journalists (2 shots) 00:00:10
00:03:46 End 00:00:00
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