The European Parliament yesterday debated the European Commission’s proposals to redress the lack of female representation in the boards of European companies. These are companies whose decisions impact greatly on Europe’s economy. With this important impact in mind, a far greater degree of gender balance is needed to allow more representative decision making in these companies.
CESI has been involved in this debate from the beginning. Involved in the consultation process launched by the European Commission, during which relevant stakeholders are invited to submit opinions, CESI sent a strong message underlining the economic advantages in the proposals.
Some countries were already applauded by MEPs for their work in this area. France and Norway were highlighted as examples to follow in setting certain binding targets for female representation on Boards. The Austrian MEP Evelyn Regner said that now was the time to put “the old boys network out of business”.
Drafted by the European Commission, the proposals instruct member states to strictly implement the legislation, so as to ensure companies submit reports to the authorities on their activities regarding gender balance. The European Commission, supported by the European Parliament, wants to extend these targets, including through the introduction of possible sanctions.
During a debate with MEPs at the European Parliament, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the legislative proposals are an “economic imperative”, echoing what CESI has been campaigning for for many years.
The vote passed during the plenary session of the European Parliament with 458 for and 148 against. The legislation will now move to the Council, where Ministers will engage on the debate. While some reluctance is expected in the Council, CESI calls on Member States to follow the example set by the European Commission and the European Parliament on redressing the imbalances in gender equality on this issue and beyond.