BBC Worldwide on New Proposals for Women on Boards

Labour Party

Today I discussed on the BBC news channels and BBC World the revised plans for compulsory EU-wide quotas for women on company boards. You can see my interview here.

The European Commission will to press for 40% minimum female representation among non-executive board members by 2020 for publicly-listed companies except small and medium-sized firms, the Press Association reported.

Public sector listed companies will have to meet the target two years earlier the report said.

The revised gender rules do not apply to member states “which have already taken measures for more balanced boards… so long as they can demonstrate the measures are of ‘equivalent efficacy’ to reach the objective” (of the EU Directive).

The report explains what this will mean for the UK: ‘But all member states “will have to lay down ‘appropriate and dissuasive’ sanctions for companies in breach of the Directive”, says the proposal.

The Commission says the share of company board posts held by women in EU countries average less than 15%, compared with 16% in the UK.

According to latest UK figures in the Cranfield School of Management Female FTSE Report, female board representation could reach 27% by 2015, and 37% by 2020.

That should put the UK in the category excluded by Brussels from the new provisions.’