In November 2012 the European Commission proposed legislation to improve gender balance on company boards based on merit and qualification. The proposed Directive sets a minimum objective of 40% by 2020 for members of the under-represented sex for non-executive members of the boards of publicly listed companies in Europe, or 2018 for listed public undertakings.
The proposal also includes as a complementary measure a "flexi quota": an obligation for listed companies to set themselves individual, self-regulatory targets regarding the representation of both sexes among executive directors to be met by 2020 (or 2018 in the case of public undertakings).
A report by the Commission in March 2012 showed that across the EU company boards are currently dominated by one gender. There are also big differences between countries, with women making up 27 per cent of board members in the largest Finnish companies and 26 per cent in Latvia, but only 3 per cent in Malta and 4 per cent in Cyprus. Progress is only visible in countries that have introduced legally binding laws for company boards. France, which introduced a legal quota in January 2011, accounts alone for more than 40 per cent of the total EU-wide change recorded between October 2010 and January 2012.
For more information
European Commission database on women and men in decision-making
Press pack – Women on boards
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Message by Viviane Reding on Board ready women
Eurobarometer survey on gender equality
Factsheets on gender equality:
Gender Equality in the European Commission
Gender Equality in the Member States
For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
Annex: Members of the European Business School / Women On Boards Initiative
Cambridge Judge Business School
EDHEC Business School
EFMD – European Federation of Management Development
ESSEC business school
HR College of Commerce and Economics
IAUW – International Association of University Women
IFPM Female Board Pool at the University of St.Gallen
Kellogg School of Management
London Business School
University of Mumbai
American Chamber of Commerce France and Spain
Business and Industry Advisory Council
Canadian Women in Communications
Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V.
EPWN (European Professional Women’s Network)
Forte Foundation – Major Corporations and Business Schools
The Financial Times Non-Executive Directors' Club
GTWN - The Global Telecom Women’s Network
GGI – Geneva Group International
IFA Institut Francais des Administrateurs
International Corporate Women Directors
TIAW - The International Alliance for Women
WiTT - Women in Telecoms and Technology
WCD - Women Corporate Directors
Women’s Forum of New York
Lady Barbara Judge