Companies will be forced to ensure that at least 40 per cent of their board members are women under European Commission-backed plans to help women into top jobs.
The rules demand that companies give non-executive directorships to women, where there is no male candidate who is better qualified, until they reach a target of four in ten. More radical plans were softened by the commission, which rejected imposing a penalty for firms who fail to reach the quota.
Companies will be forced to ensure at least four of ten board members are women under EC-backed plans. However, the draft law does envisage possible fines for companies that ignore the selection rules.
European Union justice commissioner Viviane Reding, who launched the proposal, said: ‘The Parliament has made the first cracks in the glass ceiling that continues to bar female talent from the top jobs.’
The news rules do not help women aiming for top management roles, such as chief executive. They also exempt smaller companies and those that are not listed.
Only about 17 per cent of non-executive board members in the EU’s largest companies are women.
In Britain, women hold 17.4 per cent of directorships, up from 12.5 per cent in 2010. Only four chief executives at FTSE 100 companies are women. If endorsed, the rules will take seven years to come into full force.
The European Commission rules demand that companies give non-executive directorships to women, where there is no male candidate who is better qualified