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EU plans directive to achieve gender equality on boards


Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, March 15th 2022 à 15:35 | Read 217 times



The Council of the European Union has prepared the text to become a directive voted by the European Parliament (photo: Council of the EU)
The Council of the European Union has prepared the text to become a directive voted by the European Parliament (photo: Council of the EU)
EU. Meeting within the European Council in Brussels on Monday 14 March 2022, the Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs of the European Union Member States agreed on a "general approach" to strengthen equality between women and men on the boards of non-executive directors of listed companies.

The Council of the European Union will therefore work on a directive "setting a quantitative target for the proportion of members of the under-represented sex on the boards of listed companies", notes a press release from this institution. "Companies should thus put in place measures to achieve the minimum target of either 40% of members of the under-represented sex for non-executive directors or 33% for all members of their board by 2027," the text continues. It further stipulates that "in the case of candidates with equal qualifications in terms of ability, skills and professional performance", the companies concerned must ensure that "priority is given to the candidate of the under-represented sex".

If these objectives are not met, a company would be required to make appointments or elections of directors using clear, unambiguous and neutrally worded criteria.

Only one third of women on boards in the EU

However, the Council of the EU provides that countries that already have national targets for achieving a more balanced representation of women and men "may suspend the nomination or election requirements of the Directive". Also, it will be up to each country (not the companies!) to choose between the 40% for non-executive directors and the 33% for all board members.

"Today's agreement in the Council is an important step. I hope that negotiations with the European Parliament will begin quickly to achieve the final adoption of this directive, which will make it possible to combat the glass ceiling that women still too often face in the world of work", commented Elisabeth Borne, French Minister for Labour, Employment and Integration, President of the Council of the EU, under the French Presidency of the European Union (FPEU).

The next step after this decision will be negotiations between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The two bodies must reach a common position in order to vote on the directive. Once adopted, it will have to be transposed into all national laws of the Member States.

In October 2021, only 30.6% of board members and 8.5% of board chairpersons in EU companies were women. This compares to around 60% of new university graduates in the EU.

The Council of the European Union had already agreed in December 2021 on a common position on draft legislation to combat the gender pay gap.

Read also: Entrepreneurship in the Euro-Mediterranean region continues to have a male face  

AND Equality between women and men in the EU should be achieved in ... 60 years

 



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