European & International News

Press release: MEPs call Council to step up actions to improve gender balance on company boards

[Press release, 14 January 2014] “Over 60% of university graduates are female, but only 18.6% of board members of largest listed companies are women. That is clear sign that concrete measures need to be taken to remedy the situation”, said the representative of incoming Latvian Presidency, Zanda Kalnina-Lukaševica in a debate with MEPs on women on company boards on Tuesday evening. “Major step on the road to effective gender equality need to be made and the adoption of women on board’s directive will be an important step on that road. This EU instrument is necessary”, stressed Commissioner Věra Jourová.

Council role

During the debate several MEPs asked Council to advance talks on this dossier, which has been blocked in the Council since November 2013.

“The goal that we share can be reach by different routes. Policy makers have different views on approaches and tools to use, therefore no surprise if more time is needed to agree”, say in her speech Zanda Kalnina-Lukaševica.
However, she assured MEPs that they will work with the EP to reach an agreement.

“We now expect the German government to keep up the momentum and break down the minority in the Council which is still blocking a similar piece of EU legislation adopted by the European Parliament in November 2013. The European Parliament has played its part and now the ball is in the Council’s court. It is high time the law was used to ensure that all talents are used on the labour market,” said rapporteur of the European Parliament Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT)

More women on boards will boost economic recovery

“The Women on Boards directive is an ambitious but realistic proposal that stands to succeed. It will enable us to decisively widen the access of talented women to decision-making positions and to accelerate economic growth," said Commissioner Jourová.

“Women represent 60% of graduates in the EU but their role in the labor market does not reflect this potential which is available. The objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy cannot be achieved without breaking the glass ceiling," added rapporteur Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG).


Parliament’s November 2013 resolution called on EU member states to ensure that listed companies take effective measures to guarantee equal access for both women and men to non-executive positions on boards so as to ensure that by 2020, at least 40% of non-executive directors’ positions are held by women. Qualification and merit remain the key criteria in a fair and transparent selection procedure. This draft was approved by Parliament in November 2013, but the Council of Ministers has yet to state a position on it.

#Genderbalance #womenonboards


Video recording of debate (click on 13.01.2015)

European Parliament legislative resolution (20.11.2013)

Press release after vote in the plenary (20.11.2013)

Procedure file on Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges

EP Research on Gender Balance on Company boards

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