EWL News

Better late than never

[Brussels, 05 March 2012] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) welcomes the announcement by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding that legal targets to increase the proportion of women on corporate boards all over Europe are on the horizon.

The EWL has been advocating for an EU Directive on parity in boardrooms, and sees the efforts by the European Commission to push for more equality in the sphere of economic decision-making as an important symbolic move.

The EWL is, therefore, pleased that the European Commission has seized upon this unique opportunity to set quota and timetable for the minimum share of women in top jobs and on corporate boards.

The EWL progress report on women on boards click here released on 29 of February reveals most progress towards parity has been made in France, where quota legislation accompanied by sanctions were introduced last year. With its latest analysis the European Commission draws the same conclusion: legislation increases the number of women in high-level positions.

The EWL supports Vice-President Reding’s endeavours to introduce a quota as it sends the right signal to the corporate world. Introducing a legal quota garners widespread public support, as 75% of Europeans are in favour of such a quota. This fact also reveals that parity is a matter of Democracy. Furthermore, there is the business case for increasing the number of women on boards. Several studies have shown the positive effects of gender-diverse boards on the performance as they have steered companies through the crisis better in terms of profit and turnover.

The EWL urges the EU, especially in times of crisis, to ensure that the highly-skilled and qualified women are given the opportunity to play an active role in the economy, and that this pool of talent is not needlessly wasted.

“While we welcome the public consultation, we believe there is only one way forward: the Commission must take the opportunity and propose binding measures at EU level and the business case cannot be neglected anymore” says Cécile Greboval, Secretary General of the EWL.

The EWL will watch very closely whether the European Commission will introduce legislative measures in the summer and achieve one of the EWL’s long-standing demands - an EU Directive on parity in boardrooms. However, it is important to keep in mind that quotas are just one of the tools to be used in the context of comprehensive gender equality policies.

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