Thursday

7th Jul 2022

Boardroom equality rules advance, despite opposition

  • Only 30.6 percent of board members and just 8.5 percent of board chairs in the EU were women in October 2021 (Photo: ShellVacationsHospitality)
Listen to article

A 10-year deadlock on rules promoting equality in the boardroom for women was broken Monday (14 March) — with EU ministers finally agreeing a common position on a proposal to set minimum quota targets for female company directors.

The ministers set a minimum goal for at least 40 percent of non-executive company board members, or, alternatively, at least 33 percent for all board members, to be women by 2027.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The move paves the way for negotiations between the European Parliament and EU member states on the issue.

But the decision was by majority, with some member states still reluctant, as they regard the rules as infringing on their domestic competencies.

Estonia, Slovakia and Hungary abstained from supporting the proposal, while Sweden and Poland were vocal in rejecting it during Monday's debate.

Sweden, regarded as one of the most progressive member states on equality issues, opposed the move because Stockholm believes that measures on how to promote gender equality belong to national authorities.

Sweden's opposition reflected the position of the country's parliamentary committee on EU affairs but not that of the government in Stockholm, an EU diplomat said.

For her part, Polish labour minister Marlena Maląg said member states face different situations in terms of the ratio of women on company boards.

"This imposes much more serious obligations on Poland in comparison to other member states where the representation of women is higher," she said during discussions on the proposal on Monday. She said companies could suffer reduced competitiveness due to an increase in reporting and administrative obligations.

EU member states can choose between the two proposed targets, but once the law is passed, they would be obliged by the EU to ensure companies do their best to achieve such standards.

The final adoption of the text will help address "the glass ceiling with which women are still too often faced in the world of work," said French labour minister Élisabeth Borne, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Only 30.6 percent of board members and just 8.5 percent of board chairs in the EU were women in October 2021, according to figures from the EU council.

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.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. Report: British PM Johnson to resign today
  2. British PM defiant amid spate of resignations
  3. France says EU fiscal discipline rules 'obsolete'
  4. Russia claims untouchable status due to nuclear arsenal
  5. Catalan MEPs lose EU court case over recognition
  6. 39 arrested in migrant-smuggling dragnet
  7. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  8. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?
  2. EU should freeze all EU funds to Hungary, says study
  3. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  4. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  5. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  6. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  7. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  8. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us