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The Guardian - EU to Propose Enforcing 40% Quota for Women on Company Boards

The European commission is to push for a quota for women on company boards to address the slow progress to gender equality in the senior ranks of publicly listed businesses. Previous attempts by the EU’s executive to set a 40% goal for women in the top ranks of listed companies have been blocked by Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden overs fears that Brussels was overreaching into domestic affairs. Hungary and Poland have opposed the move on ideological grounds.

The result of the impasse has been slow progress to greater diversity at the top of companies. Women made up 29% of recruits to UK boards in 2016, down from 32.1% in 2014 and 31.6% in 2012, according to research by the recruiter Egon Zehnder.

The commissioner for justice and gender equality, Vĕra Jourová, will publish proposals to redress the gender pay gap. Jourová said, “We have so much evidence that it is good for business to have diversity, to have women and men on boards. Women [make up] 65% of university graduates, so why don’t we use that talent and the investment?”

“There are no teeth [to current laws],” she said. “According to our estimates, discrimination accounts for 8-10% of the gap. There is not enough enforcement. It must be done by labor inspectorates, and it should be captured in collective bargaining by the trade unions.”

Under the proposals, companies whose non-executive directors are more than 60% male would be required to prioritize women when candidates of equal merit were being considered for a post.

Full story: “EU to Push for 40% Quote for Women on Company Boards” in The Guardian (20 November 2017).