EU wants women to have 40% share on company boards


6 September 2012

The European Commission wants women to have at least 40 percent representation on the boards of listed companies but the plan has reportedly run into opposition from some EU member states.

A draft Commission directive seen Wednesday envisages that women, long a rarity at the corporate high table and outnumbered there roughly seven to one by men according to the EU, should play a much bigger role.

European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding challenged listed company heads last year to commit to a programme by March 2012 under which women would have 30 percent of board seats by 2015 and 40 percent by 2020.

The draft noted that the current "under-utilisation of highly qualified women's skills constitutes for the EU a loss of economic growth potential.

"The business case for more gender diversity on boards is widely recognised among stakeholders," it added.

A Financial Times report Wednesday said Britain opposed the plan and was rallying those against, arguing that such issues were best left to national governments.

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