MEPs back 40% quota in company boards

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MEPs backed on Monday a proposal by the European Commission to address the gender imbalance in top management jobs in Europe.

The new legislation would require most listed EU companies to make sure that 40% of all non-executive board members are women.

‘Its really important to have a vote like the one we have had today. That’s concretise the common will of both committees so start the negotiations with the council to arrive to have an European legislation which opens the way to good competences and human potential of women in high level decision key places’, said Greek MEP Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou.

MEPs were also in favour of strengthening sanctions against those companies that don’t reach target.

The new plan was put forward by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding last November. Reding said that at this current rate, it would take more than 40 years to reach significant equality.

‘There are really transparent objective procedures both for men and women. So it’s not only done for women, it is done also for men, to get good qualified men. The second point that is great is that we have a biggest cope right now. That means that really more enterprises have to apply those procedures that the Commission was proposing. And, I would really say, we also did a lot on sanctions, to have good effective sanctions. And therefore, it’s a strong message to the Council. I am really looking very much forward to negotiating with the Council and I hope that the people in the Council are right now motivated to go on’, said Austrian MEP Evelyn Regner.

Reding’s quota plan has so far seen an overwhelming opposition from member states and companies, as they prefer self-regulation or legislation at national level.

According to the European Commission, only around 17% of non-executive members of EU companies are women.

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