EU vote to get more women on company boards is welcome

21 November 2013

Labour Women welcomes the news that the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of gender quotas for the boards of publicly listed members in Strasbourg yesterday.

Speaking on the vote, Labour Women Chair Sinead Ahern said, “Today in Ireland, in terms of publicly listed companies, women make up just 9% of board members, while the EU average is 16%. The stats speak for themselves - with so few women participating on the boards of publicly listed companies it is clear that not enough is being done at corporate level to encourage and actively pursue women’s involvement at board level. International evidence has repeatedly shown that companies with more diverse boards perform better and this proposal will benefit Irish businesses.

“The European Commission’s proposal, which was backed by the parliament yesterday states that if a publicly listed company in Europe does not have 40% women among its non-executive board members, it will be required to introduce a new selection procedure for board members which gives priority to qualified female candidates. It is important to point out however, that this law places the emphasis firmly on qualification. Nobody will get a job on the board just because they are a woman. But no woman will be denied a job because of their gender either.

“There is a wealth of talented and qualified women out there who have a contribution to make as directors, both in terms of corporate governance and corporate success. We look forward to this draft law making it through the next stage at the Council of Ministers in December, and to the legislation applying in Irish boardrooms in the near future.”

 

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