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Women on Boards in Europe – From a Snail’s Pace to a Giant Leap? EWL report on progress and gaps Seminar ‘Equal Rights, Equal Voices? Women in Decision-Making.

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Presentation on theme: "Women on Boards in Europe – From a Snail’s Pace to a Giant Leap? EWL report on progress and gaps Seminar ‘Equal Rights, Equal Voices? Women in Decision-Making."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women on Boards in Europe – From a Snail’s Pace to a Giant Leap? EWL report on progress and gaps Seminar ‘Equal Rights, Equal Voices? Women in Decision-Making in Cyprus and the EU’ Susana Pavlou EWL Executive Member

2 European Policy Context European Strategy for Equality between Women and Men ( ) Commissioner Viviane Reding - Women on the Board Pledge for Europe EP Resolution July 2011 on Women in Business Leadership and March 2012 on Equality between Women and Men in the European Union Commitment made by the Commission to explore policy options if insufficient progress is made

3 Why Women on Company Boards? Improved company performance Mirroring the Market Enhanced quality of decision-making Improved corporate governance and ethics Better use of talent pool Macro-economic perspective Absence of women in senior positions could widen the gender employment gap and the gender pay gap

4 Women on Boards – the leaking pipeline… Women represent 45% of people employed in the EU Women account for 56% of people in tertiary education 60% of university graduates are women Women occupy only 13.7% of board seats of the largest public listed companies in EU MS (do we have a an 86.3% “male quota”?) (Commission, January 2012) Achievements in education not translating into greater economic opportunity for women – LOSS FOR WOMEN, LOSS FOR THE ECONOMY!

5 Women on Boards – the leaking pipeline…

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7 From 2010 to 2012 proportion of women on corporate boards increased by 1.9% Progress of individual countries varies – 10% in France where a legal quota was adopted in 2011, 4% or more in Slovenia and Bulgaria, 3% or more in Germany, Netherlands and Czech Republic Decline in Romania, Hungary and Slovakia All male boards still far to common – in nearly a third of MS (including CY), at least half of the largest companies have boards with no women More women as board members but not as Chairs – more than 96% of company presidents are men – and there is no sign of progress!

8 Why an EWL Report on Women on Boards? What can we learn from the efforts made at national level to have more equality in boardroom?

9 EWL report on Women on Boards Covers 10 countries, which have implemented different types of measures to improve gender balance: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK Based on broad national level data that does not focus on large companies like most comparative studies Includes an assessment of the national situation by EWL members Rates countries based on the current situation and progress

10 Overview of measures in place

11 Legislation: Norway the first country in the world, legislation adopted in Five EU member states (Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands) – Spain already in 2007, the rest in In the broader European region, Iceland adopted legislation in The laws differ in terms of the targets and the deadlines set for reaching them, and in terms of the sanctions proposed for breaching the law. Some are more effective than others Self regulation: Including clauses on gender balance in corporate governance codes, the most common form of self-regulation. First introduced in Finland in All countries with legislation, apart from Italy, have had corporate governance codes prior to legislation. In addition, we have corporate governance codes in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Luxembourg and Slovenia. Normally, these clauses do not include targets or deadlines. In the UK and in Germany also other forms of self-regulation has taken a more precise form. In the UK, the Government has called on companies to set themselves targets to be reached by In Germany, companies have set themselves voluntary targets, to be reached by 2020, but many of these targets are as low as “only” 85% men in 2020 and the fees are often amounts that are irrelevant for big companies.

12 Overview of measures in place Targets for state-owned companies: Targets for state owned or partly state owned companies - often goes together with self-regulation. Finland, Denmark and Ireland have introduced these several years back. The latest country to do this was Austria in (also in Iceland but now redundant because of the law). In these countries however, no sanctions are foreseen. In Finland the target was reached and now there are 45% women on the boards of state companies. In Ireland the 40% target set has not been reached.

13 Current situation and progress in selected EU Member States

14 EWL Conclusions 1/2 1.Intervention makes a difference in progressing towards equality on boards 2.Self regulation builds ground for legislation 3.Quota legislation is most effective when endorsed by sanctions 4.Effective self-regulation requires targets, deadlines and state-endorsed monitoring

15 Conclusions 2/2 5.Mid-term targets help to meet long-term goals 6.Progress towards equal representation of women and men is slower for executive board positions 7.Quota legislation does not increase the number of female CEOs 8.Awareness raising and promoting women help reaching targets

16 Thank you for your attention! For more information :


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