European Union postpones women quota on boards plan

 
Woman in silhouette Several countries in the EU now have quota rules for the composition of their boards

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EU commissioners have postponed plans to impose quotas for women on company boards.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding was pushing for a vote on Tuesday to make it mandatory for companies to keep 40% of seats for women.

But the proposals will now not be debated until November.

The quota had already run into problems after EU lawyers said the proposed law might go too far and countries could not be forced to meet the target.

Several countries, including the UK, are opposed to Ms Reding's plans.

"Gender balance directive postponed," Ms Reding said on Twitter.

"I will not give up. [Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso] will put this on the Commission agenda again before the end of November."

On Monday, the European Parliament criticised the lack of female candidates for the European Central Bank (ECB).

A parliamentary committee - in a resolution passed by 21 votes to 12, with 13 absentions - called on the European Council to withdraw the candidacy of Luxembourg's Yves Mersch for the ECB executive board, saying his appointment would mean that the board would be all male up until 2018.

'Time is now'

The debate on Ms Reding's plan was due in Strasbourg on Tuesday, which could have led to a vote in the European Parliament to make gender quotas mandatory across the 27 countries in the European Union.

But lawyers told the Commission that the 40% quota plan, including hefty sanctions on companies in EU countries that did not meet the target, could not be enforced under EU treaties.

Earlier reports had suggested the directive was being diluted, before a decision was made to postpone it.

At the moment, less than 15% of board positions in EU member states are currently held by women, according to the Commission.

Ms Reding's proposals on compulsory numbers of women come after France, Spain, Italy, Iceland and Belgium introduced quota laws. Norway, which is not an EU member, has had a 40% quota since 2003.

Her opponents argue that voluntary targets and increased efforts to change attitudes would be more effective in the long run.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is leading a campaign against the quota proposals, backed by ministers from eight other countries.

In the UK, the percentage of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies has risen over the past year to a record 16%, but the UK government wants the biggest listed companies to have a minimum 25% of female directors by 2015.

 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 678.

    Absolute rubbish!! This will help to put back women's equality by light years! These positions should be granted on merit - not gender. Women want to be 'equal', not a 'special case'!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 677.

    In My industry people have been promoted above their level of ability to meet targets, this causes issues such the job not being done properly and resentment as people are either being passed over for promotion unfairly or the person being promoted is not valued as highly due to scepticism.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 676.

    There is no such thing as "positive" discrimination, it's just discrimination. Consider an employer being FORCED BY LAW to employ someone who isn't the best person for the job. Who wins? Not the company, not the individual and certainly not the person who IS the best suited. It's PC MADNESS!!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 675.

    670.
    Yours In Sisterhood
    " this is not discrimination it is redressing injustice, discrimination and inequity why aren't there 50% of women in boardrooms? Answer that. Unless gentlemen you are suggesting women aren't up to it"

    Can we expect to see ladies making up 50% of our road diggers ?

  • Comment number 674.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 673.

    670.Yours In Sisterhood
    "... this is not discrimination it is redressing injustice, discrimination and inequity why aren't there 50% of women in boardrooms? Answer that. Unless gentlemen you are suggesting women aren't up to it".

    I take it that you'll also argue in favour of 50/50 employment in EVERY job, such as the army, midwifery......... need I go on?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 672.

    666. John G krokodil


    Sounds like discrimination to me ... lol :)

    (Yes and the justice commissioner is looking into the matter)

    Minor point to one and all but wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the EU should have more pressing matters to consider - what an unbelievable institution.

    (Pressing matters are directed to Mrs Merkel. The EU deals with banana sizes and gender quotas) ;)

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 671.

    Anyone who needs equality legislation to level the playing field will never be equal

    Anyway
    Most companies use the David Cameron system
    Surround yourself with your rich white male buddies

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 670.

    652 Two wrongs to not make a right

    Is that so, this is not discrimination it is redressing injustice, discrimination and inequity why aren't there 50% of women in boardrooms? Answer that. Unless gentlemen you are suggesting women aren't up to it.

  • Comment number 669.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 668.

    How about quotas for redheads, left-handers, people whose names begin with "A"?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 667.

    What! Just give the jobs to the people that can best do them!

    I am absolutely sick of this ultra-feminism, and the sick thing with these people is, they've got us actually believing they're STILL unequal.

    No wonder Marriage is at an all time low. Men spend all day getting women thrown in their faces everywhere they look. Home is the only chance to get away from it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 666.

    659 krokodil
    ''Gender reassigned persons are not in the quota system. You will have to argue with the females for equal rights.''

    Sounds like discrimination to me ... lol :)

    Minor point to one and all but wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the EU should have more pressing matters to consider - what an unbelievable institution.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 665.

    I wonder if Ms. Viviane Reding's appointment was based on her being a woman. What about quotas for ethnic minorities..religion, etc? What about quotas in social services, school teachers etc that are filled with women. I know many successful womedn in top positions - solely on the basis of ability. Now, they have to tick a box to get that position,

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 664.

    What about the 99.9% of men who didn't go to public school and don't have friends in high places? The main reason why women don't climb high within a corporate structure is because that type of organisation unintentionally encourages sociopathic behaviours. Unaccountable to anyone except shareholders means they literally get away with murder. You can't imprison a corporation. No quotas required

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 663.

    The right to choose who you employ is a fundamental freedom any interference by a government is just a radical authoritarian european political ideology (fascism). And any talk of politians having any inclination about running a business is called a soveriegh debt crisis. Soon they'll be telling us who we can't employ...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 662.

    Re 599Markdoncaster Yes it is ANOTHER joke of MANY! A very expensive one for the UK. At around £53 million a DAY that would be better spent on infrastructure,NHS, the sick,the genuine needy,education,training etc! Stop kids starting out in debt! Instead of the UNelected UNdemocratic UNaccountable EU nosing into everthing repeatedly proving they know little or nothing about! Look at the evidence!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 661.

    How ridiculous. This sort of policy makes a mockery of what equality really means... This sort of role must be based on ABILITY not on the colour, gender, race or religion.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 660.

    "Let's draw straws and get jobs randomly - that's fair, everyone has the fair chance of getting anything, men, women, kids."
    Somehow that sounds wrong.
    Any artificial adjustment to (time + effort) is an insult to people who do the work and deserve the chance.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 659.

    657. John G
    Almost worth having a sex change for ... ALMOST !



    Gender reassigned persons are not in the quota system. You will have to argue with the females for equal rights.

 

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