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Getting more women on company boards
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Published on 14-03-12

Calls by MEPs for an increase in female representation in corporate management from 30% by 2015 and 40% by 2020, have been welcomed by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

    Getting more women on company boards

    "The resolution is an important contribution to the consultation that the Commission launched last week on how to improve the gender balance at the top of Europe’s large companies. I look forward to hearing more from citizens and businesses until the end of May,” Mrs Reding said.

    Legislation to boost the numbers of women on company boards was amongst several proposals approved by Parliament on 13 March to tackle gender inequality in the EU.

    The Commission's public consultation on gender imbalance in corporate boards in the EU will run until 28 May 2012.  A decision on any further action will be taken by the Commission later this year.

    Background

    The lack of women in top business jobs harms Europe's competitiveness and hampers economic growth and why several member states – notably Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain – have started to address the situation by adopting legislation that introduces gender quotas for company boards. Some countries, such as Denmark, Finland, Greece, Austria and Slovenia, have adopted rules on gender balance for the boards of state-owned companies.

    Gender balance in top positions has been shown to contribute to improved business performance, competitiveness and economic gains. For example, a report by McKinsey found that gender-balanced companies have a 56% higher operating profit compared to male-only companies. Whilst Ernst & Young looked at the 290 largest publicly-listed companies and found that the earnings at companies with at least one woman on the board were significantly higher than in those that had no female board member.

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    Last update: 15/03/2012  |Top