We are seeing an increasingly lively debate in the corporate world about shifting the leadership culture and practice from competition to collaboration; slowly social and sustainable business models are beginning to replace pure profit driven enterprises. EWL is seeking new ways of engaging with progressive parts of the business world to develop strategies to support equality between women and men and women’s rights eg. closing the gap in pay and leadership; women in social entrepreneurship; women in the digital economy etc.
The data: overrepresentation of men
- Of the largest publicly listed companies in EU member states, 77% of the company board members are men.
- Only in ten EU member states - Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK - the largest publicly listed companies have more than 20% female company board members.
- Across the EU, 95% of CEOs of the largest publicly listed companies are men.
- In 9 countries- Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Latvia and Poland - none of the CEOs of the largest publicly listed companies are women.
What can be done to strengthen the role of women in business?
- Binding measures must apply to both executive and non-executive boards
- Further action is needed to increase proportion of female CEOs
- Effective measures require regular monitoring and intermediary targets
- Measures must be enforced with firm sanctions
- Quotas must be introduced as part of a comprehensive policy package that seeks to address the fundamental causes of women’s underrepresentation in economic decision-making
What is the EWL - and its members - doing to support women in business?
- EWL has published two reports on Women on Boards in Europe: From a Snail’s Pace to a Giant Leap? (2012) and Cracks in the glass ceiling or just a trick of the light? (2015) on the situation of women on boards in Europe.
- EWL works together with companies to debate ways of strengthening the role of women in Business
- Business and Professional Women advocating towards governments and corporations, and by revealing women’ potential.
EU policy in place to support women in business
- The Directive on Women on Boards was put forward by the Commission in 2012, and approved by the European Parliament in 2013. It has still not been agreed by the Council.
- The European Commission’s Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 - confirming the Commission’s commitment to support adoption of the 2012 proposal for a Directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies, closely monitor transposition and implementation, and support other targeted initiatives to improve the gender balance in decision-making.
- Council conclusions on the European Pact for gender equality for the period 2011 - 2020 - urging action at national and EU level to promote the equal participation of women and men in decision-making at all levels and in all fields.
- European Women on Boards
- The Women’s Empowerment Principles, a partnership initiative of UN Women and UN Global Compact