Gender equality

EU wants to break “glass ceiling”

Published on 6 March 2012 at 11:24

The European Commission is considering introducing mandatory quotas for female members on corporate boards after pleas for companies to voluntarily introduce such quotas themselves have produced no effect, reports Rzeczpospolita. “Only 24 European companies have responded to Brussels’ proposition from a year ago, which called for raising the representation of women on management boards to 30 percent by 2015 and 40 percent by 2020”, notes the Warsaw daily. This is why obligatory quotas are now being considered. The Rzeczpospolita leader adds

Even if, like any top-down imposed regulation, they seem artificial, no one has yet come up with a more efficient way of boosting women’s representation at the top echelons of corporate power.

In Poland, women constitute only 11 percent of listed companies’ board members and their salaries are an average 15 percent lower than those of men in comparable positions. EU-wide, women earn 16.4 percent less than their male colleagues.

In the male bastion of Germany where the female quota became a talking point last week after 350 woman journalists petitioned for a better representation in leading positions on the national press, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes that “the gentlemen ignored for too long the soft pressure of the ladies to put women in more executive positions” –

One can trust Viviane Reding [European Commissioner for Justice who initiated the project] to succeed. […] Not by referring to discrimination or equality but by using the argument of the internal market: without a European quota it could happen that German companies, for example, could not participate in French or Spanish tenders because they don’t have enough female executives.

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