EP demands 40% of women on boards
Wednesday 6 July 2011 - by Andrew Hickley
Businesses should have mandatory quotas requiring 40 per cent of their top managers to be women, according to the European Parliament.
It follows the commission launching a consultation in April mooting the idea of mandatory gender requirements on company boards, though it did not go as far as proposing any target figures.
"Europe cannot afford to leave talent untapped! Empowering the role of women on management boards of companies is not only about ethics and equality, it is also essential for economic growth and a competitive internal market," said the EP's vice-president Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, who drafted the resolution.
"With the adoption of the report on Women and Business Leadership, the European Parliament has sent a strong message to governments, social partners and enterprises in Europe."
The report, which was approved with 539 votes in favour, 109 rejections and 29 abstentions, quoted studies that have found companies with a higher percentage of women tend to perform better commercially and financially. The parliament did however stress that recruitment for positions in corporate management bodies should be based on skills, qualifications and experience.
It recommends that the commission and member states implement new policies to develop women's individual capabilities in-house through schemes such as training courses, mentoring and networking.
However the resolution could ruffle feathers in the UK, where a recent consultation decided against imposing gender quotas onto company boards.
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