Women Euro MPs call for more women at the top

On International Women’s Day, Labour women MEPs have together joined growing calls for EU wide quotas for women on company boards.

“We have tried to go down the self regulation route but companies are simply not making the necessary changes fast enough.  To date, the European Commission’s ‘Women on the Board Pledge for Europe’ has been signed only by 24 companies,” said the Labour women.

“At the current rate of change it will be more than 70 years before women are anywhere near equal in terms of representation on boards and that’s simply not good enough.

“To see where real progress has been made then you have to go to countries where quotas have been introduced. France, which introduced quotas last year, has made the most progress, while Norway is the example of best practice.

“In the UK, Lord Davies’ Report on women on boards last year set a target of a minimum of 25% female board representatives in FTSE 100 companies by 2015 – but it didn’t propose compulsory measures.

“In the last 12 months the overall percentage of women on boards in FTSE 100 companies in the UK has risen from 12.5% to 15%.

“However, the number of female executive directive fell slightly between November 2010 and November 2011. Only 6.1% of FTSE 100 executive directors were women and 4.4% in the FTSE 250,” they said.

Last year, Labour women supported amendments to the European law on corporate governance tabled at the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee calling for a 40% quota, but these were voted down to 30% by Conservative MEPs.

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