EC Oks Women Boards Quota, Says Reding in Tweet
The European Commission has given the green light to a controversial proposal to set a 40% quota for women on the boards of listed companies by 2020.
The news came in a tweet by justice commissioner Viviane Reding, who initiated the proposal, but has not been officially confirmed yet.
Several countries, including Bulgaria, have voiced firm opposition to forcing quotas for women on corporate boards.
In the middle of September Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands and Britain sent a letter to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his deputy Viviane Reding.
The letter recognized that "there is a problem ... that there are too few women and there must be efforts to promote women but these should be national approaches."
Unconfirmed reports say the approved proposals have been watered down to exclude small and medium companies and only to apply to non-executive directors.
Under the plans, member states will be allowed to decide for themselves what action to take against companies failing to reach the quota.
Draft versions of the proposals also said that the rules would not apply to countries that had already taken measures to improve the gender balance on boards.
If though there is enough agreement, the proposal will be put to the European Parliament, which could vote to make gender quotas mandatory across the 27 countries in the European Union.
At the moment, less than 15% of board positions in EU member states are currently held by women, according to the Commission.
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