Council urged to move forward and unblock the ‘Women on Boards’ Directive
The European Parliament (EP) today debated the ‘Women on Boards’ Directive which has languished in the Council since 2013. The initial European Commission (EC) proposal, which aims to tackle gender inequality in European boardrooms, stated that women should make up at least 40 per cent of company board’s membership by 2020.
Speaking to Parliament today, S&D Group spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality Iratxe García Pérez, urged the Romanian Presidency to do all it can to move this dossier forward. She said, ‘we have to seize the opportunity’ to ‘accelerate the pace of negotiations’. Concluding with, this is important, ‘because ‘women have got to be an integral part of the decision-making procedures in Europe’.
Women have got to be an integral part of the decision-making procedures in Europe.
Romania’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, Melania-Gabriela Ciot, told Parliament: ‘As things stand right now, the file remains blocked. Nevertheless, there is broad consensus in Europe on the need to improve the gender balance on company boards. Although the member states have different approaches, the principle is not contested. The Romanian presidency aims to facilitate discussions at the Council level in order to explore possible ways forward’.
Commenting to today’s proceedings in Parliament, Eurocadres President Martin Jefflén said: ‘It is a disgrace that this directive has not yet been adopted. More action is needed to change the culture of male dominance in the corporate world. This directive can help achieve more equal career opportunities for women. We welcome today’s efforts by MEPs to put pressure on the Council to finally move forward’. Male-dominated company boards make for poorer decisions where half of the population is not properly considered.
The Romanian presidency aims to facilitate discussions at the Council level.
‘The ETUC is encouraged by the Romanian Presidency’s offer to relaunch negotiations’, says the ETUC’s Confederal Secretary Montserrat Mir Roca. She went on to state, ‘we look forward to a positive outcome. It is unacceptable that women still make up only one-quarter of board members in the EU’s large, publicly listed companies. Investors and pension funds also want more equality on company boards to reflect the composition of society’.
This directive can help achieve more equal career opportunities for women.
Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality told MEPs that she is ready to engage with member states in the run up to the March EPSCO* Council meeting, to try and unblock negotiations. She went on the say that the European Union also needs to ‘have a serious debate about how to tackle’, the ‘shameful issue of the gender pay gap’, which remains high in Europe.
*Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council