EU countries agree to higher quota for female executives than Netherlands
The European Union member states plan to implement a quota for the number of women in European companies' top positions. This quota will be even higher than the Dutch one. The EU countries want at least 40 women and 40 percent men in listed companies' supervisory boards in five years. Or at least 33 percent each on the supervisory- and executive boards. The Netherlands quota, which took effect this year, states at least a third of supervisory directors must be women.
The EU Ministers of Social Affairs and Employment agreed on Monday on a European Commission proposal to break the glass ceiling at the business community's top. Member States are now seeking an agreement with the European Parliament, which always wanted to go at least this far.
The Commission previously proposed the directive in 2012, but it was blocked for years by an opposed minority, including Germany. According to Dutch Minister Karien van Gennip of Social Affairs, Berlin now voted in favor, just like she herself.
Last autumn, only three out of ten directors in large EU companies were women. Not all EU countries have drawn up rules to increase equality on this point, but the Netherlands implemented national legislation on January 1 aimed at promoting gender equality at the top of the business community.
The 2021 Female Board Index showed that the supervisory boards of listed companies in the Netherlands had 33 percent women. "We are seeing great strides in the Netherlands," said van Gennip. She's "going for it" to achieve better results over the next five years.
From 2027, at least two out of every five supervisory board members must be women at large companies, according to the European directive. The directive also states that a company with primarily women at the top must have 40 percent men. Member States can also choose to implement the 33 percent rule, in which a third of all executives, including the board of directors, must be women. Non-compliant companies must use "clear, unambiguous and neutral criteria" for each new appointment.
Reporting by ANP