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Gender equality - Newsroom

Commissioner Reding meets European business leaders

Date: 01/03/2011

On the basis of new figures published today, the Commission will have an exchange of views with companies and social partners to see what measures they have taken and intend to take in the near future to improve the gender balance in board rooms. Over the next 12 months, the Commission will closely monitor progress. After that period, the Commission will assess whether further measures are required.

Commissioner Reding meets European business leaders to push for more women in boardrooms

At a specially convened summit in Brussels, Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding will meet CEOs and chairs of boards of publicly listed companies from 10 European countries.

Vice-President Reding will chair the business leaders' meeting together with Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. They will discuss how to get more women into top jobs and whether self-regulation or regulation should be the way to make significant changes quickly. In the afternoon, the Commission's Justice department will hold a "mini-hearing" with social partners on the same issue.

Today's meeting between the Commission and business leaders and social partners is the first step towards a better gender balance in boardrooms and in senior management at Europe's biggest companies. This issue was initially raised in September 2010 when the European Commission said in its Gender Equality Strategy Choose translations of the previous link  that it will "consider targeted initiatives to improve the gender balance in decision making."

The new report on Gender Balance in Business Leadership finds that on average women make up 12% of board members in the biggest publicly-listed companies across the EU and only 3% of board chairs. The figures vary by country, from 26% female board members in Sweden and Finland to 2% in Malta.

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