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Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Women on Corporate Boards in Europe

The average share of women on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies in the EU rose to 18.6 percent in April 2014, up from 17.8 percent just six months earlier, according to statistics released by the European Commission.

gender gap

Proposed EU legislation targets a 40 percent share of female non-executive members on the boards of listed companies. The proposal received strong support from the European Parliament in November 2013 and is currently under discussion by the Council of the EU.

“Gender equality is not an option, it is not a luxury, it is an imperative,” said European Commissioner Martine Reicherts. “That is why Europe needs strong rules to tackle the gender imbalance in company boardrooms. Since we put forward a law—a procedural quota—the cracks have started to show in the glass ceiling. More and more companies are competing to attract the best female talent. Since October 2010, the share of women on boards has risen by 7.6 percentage points.”

She added: “Today’s statistics show that regulatory pressure works! The Council of Ministers should now rise to the challenge and make swift progress on this draft law, which places qualification and merit at center stage.”

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Content compliments of the EU Delegation to the United States.