EPP Group Members of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament today welcomed the announcement by Commissioner Viviane Reding of the long-awaited Commission proposal on 'Women on Boards'.
"While strong opposition was expressed recently to the project in some Member States, the Commission has to be congratulated for its pragmatic and prudent approach", said Mariya Gabriel MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the Committee, and Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou MEP, EP Rapporteur on Women and Business Leadership.
The proposal for a European Directive on 'improving the gender balance among non-Executive Directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures' sets a 40% objective for the 'under-represented sex', in practice women, among non-Executive Board Members for listed companies in the EU's Member States to be achieved by 1 January 2020 at the latest. For listed companies which are public undertakings, the date would be 1 January 2018.
Once this proposal is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, it will allow a better balance of men and women in these jobs. While for the moment only 15% of non-Executive Board Members in the EU Member States are women, various studies have recently shown that there is a link between gender-balanced Boards and economic performances.
EU companies, confronted with the issue of ageing populations, must make good use of the available skills. 60% of University graduates are female.
It will also improve the legal standards demanded by the Interior Market, taking into consideration the fact that a dozen Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) have already introduced legislation to promote gender equality on company Boards.
According to the proposal, the sanctions will be left to the Member States. SMEs will not be concerned by the proposed legislation. Candidates will have to be equally qualified.
For the time being, the share of women among Board Members for Listed Companies in EU Member States ranges between 3% for Malta and 27% for Finland. It is estimated that 5000 companies will be affected by the Directive.
Signatories: Mariya Gabriel MEP, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou MEP, Roberta Angelilli MEP, Regina Bastos MEP, Edit Bauer MEP, Anne Delvaux MEP, Lívia Járóka MEP, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio MEP, Christa Klass MEP, Lena Kolarska-Bobínska MEP, Constance Le Grip MEP, Barbara Matera MEP, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier MEP, Angelika Niebler MEP, Doris Pack MEP, Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Licia Ronzulli MEP and Corien Wortmann-Kool MEP.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 270 Members and 3 Croatian Observer Members.