Friday

15th Dec 2017

EU parliament backs female quotas for top corporate jobs

  • The EU may emulate Norway in imposing women quotas for company boards (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The European Parliament on Wednesday (6 July) advised EU businesses to hire women in their executive boards by next year or face a mandatory quota of 40 percent modelled on the Norwegian experience.

Women should make up 30 percent of top management in the largest listed EU companies by 2015 and 40 percent by 2020, MEPs said in Strasbourg in a non-binding recommendation.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

If voluntary measures to increase female representation fail to work by next year, then the European Commission must table legislation to make it binding, they added.

Currently women make up 10 percent of directors and 3 percent of chief executive officers in the EU's largest companies, with the number of women on corporate boards increasing by around half a percentage point per year. At that rate, the goal of having 40 percent female leadership would be attained in 50 years.

Non-EU member Norway in 2003 adopted a similar stance - giving companies two years to voluntarily increase female participation or face a binding quota. The increase under the voluntary system was minor - from five to six percent, but when the binding law was passed, Norwegian companies rushed to hire female directors and CEOs.

"From 2007 to 2009, they increased from six to 39.6 percent. That was very successful," Norwegian public administration minister Rigmor Aasrud told EUobserver in March.

Individual member states such as France, the Netherlands and Spain are also looking at binding quotas.

According to studies quoted by the Parliament's resolution, companies with a higher percentage of women tend to perform better commercially and financially. "Recruitment for positions in corporate management bodies should nevertheless be based on skills, qualifications and experience of the candidate," MEPs stress.

Childcare and equal pensions should also be improved so as to offer more incentives for women to take up top positions while not sacrificing their family life.

EU fundamental rights commissioner Viviane Reding, who earlier this year announced she would table mandatory quotas unless companies deliver on the voluntary pledges, welcomed the Parliament's endorsement.

"Today's vote confirms that the commission is acting at the right time and in the right way," she said.

"If there has not been credible progress by March 2012, I stand ready to take the necessary legislative steps at EU level."

EU commissioner up for 'fight' on gender quotas

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has said she is up for an "interesting fight" within the commission itself and with nine member states opposing draft legislation on gender quotas for top jobs in companies.

EU seeks more corporate transparency

A new EU bill calls on companies to publish information ranging from anti-corruption and bribery measures to their boardroom policies and employment practices.

Centeno: Eurogroup picks Southern head

Portuguese finance minister was chosen by his eurozone colleagues with a 'very substantial majority' after he appeared to be the only one ticking the boxes.

Commission wants more centralised eurozone by 2019

EU leaders will discuss at their summit next week the commission's proposals, which include a European Monetary Fund and an EU finance minister - but no eurozone budget, as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron.

News in Brief

  1. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  2. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  3. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  4. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  5. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  6. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  7. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont
  8. French central bank lifts 2017 growth forecast

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  2. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  3. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states
  4. EU asylum debate reopens old wounds
  5. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  6. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  7. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  8. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU