EU legislation debate on women on boards: Nine countries afraid of equality?


Image: The European Women’s Lobby


The European Women’s Lobby (EWL)  regrets the decision of the European Commission to close the platform for the advancement of equality between women and men:   Just as the European Year on Citizenship 2013 is being prepared and legislation on women on boards is debated at EU level, the Commission decided to finish the activities of the European Network of Women in Decision-Making.  In September EWL called already for fulfilment of EU commitments and end to anachronistic and economically incapacitating 85% ‘male quota’. Women’s gross under-representation in decision-making in the private sector is undemocratic, inefficient and contributes to broader inequality between women and men. There is evidence that in a number of EU countries, the trend is even negative, the EWL said. While women are half of the overall population and 60% of university graduates, they represent on average only 14% of board members of publicly-listed companies. In August the EU launched the “Equality pays off” initiative, as Statistics show that the labour force potential of women is often lying dormant and that companies have so far not fully utilised women’s skills. (Video Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights & Citizenship, met with journalist Jennifer Baker to discuss Women in the Boardroom.)

The draft Directive being prepared by European Commission Vice-President Reding is designed to reinforce meritocracy in access to board positions. Setting a target of 40% for the least-represented sex by 2020, companies are required to give preference to candidates from the under-represented sex on the basis of equal qualification. Although such a clause simply forces companies to give equal consideration to women candidates on the basis of merit. To the EWL,  it is shocking that a number of Member States are taking position against Ms. Reding’s initiative, namely Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia and the UK. Read their release: Nine countries move to block key EU equality legislation for women on boards. (Sources: European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights & Citizenship;  European Women’s Lobby)

About birgitstoeckl

gender & communication expert, researcher, networker, activist.
This entry was posted in current, gender equality, social change and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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