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
    0

    Comment number 718.

    I am a woman and I found it extremely disgraceful for us, talent should be the only measurement criteria, not the gender.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 717.

    Ideally we would simply basic equality with the best person for the job. But child birth does biologically limit women and it does put employers in a tricky position. However the real crux of this issue is that most of the upper echelons of business and civil service are staffed from the old school tie network - where "useless Rupert" is hired in preference to a genius gifted woman. That's UK

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 716.

    699 krokodiI
    " What a multi-tasking superstar Frau Merkel is managing the whole of Germany and Europe at the same time."

    She makes me hotter than July!

    Agree Frau Merkel smokin' hot - what an asset at any fashion house.

    General question: What is the point of the EU (other than advancing the interests of Germany and France) - answers on a postcard please...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 715.

    I can imagine how it will make women feel knowing they got their job as result of a "quota" system instead of on their abilities - degraded. Another useless bit of PC garbage c/o Brussels and another reason for voting UKIP

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 714.

    Unbelieveable!! This unelected highly paid expensive bunch deem to know how to tell companies how to run a business. Merit should always be the criteria for success.
    Look for a sample of the biggest waste of money and time but a good talk shop... EU Parliament.All talk on how to spend everyones money on trivia and then not show creditable accounts. I despair!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 713.

    If i was wiser than i am then i would probably have some quote to express my opinion, but i don't so i'll settle for saying what a stupid idea.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 712.

    As a female I find these types of quotas insulting. If I were to be on the board of a major company I would want it to be based solely on my merit and not the fact that there is a quota to meet. The best person for the job should be hired for that job for that reason alone. If it's a man, so be it. If the whole board is made up of men, and they are the best people, then so be it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 711.

    It should be the best person for the job, it doesn't matter which gender applies as long as they have the right qualifications and are able to do the job properly.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 710.

    #692
    But make sure 12.64% have black shoes, 64.234% have a fixed rate mortgage and 3.285% wear an eyepatch!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 709.

    Though a male of the species, I have no problem with positive discrimination. Fact is men are protecting their own and show no sign of changing. The evidence is clear

    My own experience is that a more equal mix of genders improves management and decision making. Females tend to be more constructive and reduce the senseless locking of horns that you get in a male dominate hierarchy

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 708.

    Like most governments of the left, the EU believes in dictating to people what they must do and think. This is similar to life in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European bloc, several countries of which are now EU member states. Positive discrimination of this kind is not only misguided but also serves to generate resentment. It really is time electorates started to tell the EU what to do.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 707.

    "Why don't we ensure all minorities have over 51% of important positions? Then they won't be minorities, and can stop playing victims."

    I promise you it would not be that simple.

    Positive discrimination is still discriminination.
    all discrimination is wrong full stop

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 706.

    So, 40pc of midwives and primary teachers will have to be men?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 705.

    This goes to the heart of what the egalitarian socialists that run Europe believe. They are convinced that all those (men) at the top of companies don't have any skills or abilities and are just scheming, conniving, back stabbing people like them.
    And because these are jobs anyone can do really, why not assign a proportion to women?
    But it's not delusion, it's just your usual left wing politics.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 704.

    I resent something even more than the proposed legislation.

    What I resent is that there's people who are being paid a lot of money to come up with these stupid schemes.

    I want out of the Socialist superstate, plucky old Britain is better off alone.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 703.

    I was watching The Enforcer last night and when Harry asked "How many are we selecting?" The chairman said "5 men and 3 women" Quotas have been with us for years at different levels but should never be used. I as a shareholder of an international company would vote for a woman if she was the best PERSON for the job. If a person is selected because of quotas the best person may not have been chosen

  • Comment number 702.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 701.

    I'm all for equal rights but this is the exact opposite.
    I understand that discrimination still does happen but forcing everything to be 50/50 is ridiculous. It should be down to who's the best not who fills a quota.
    I work in the 'physics' industry with graduates being around 80% male to 20% female. You simply can't have it 50/50 unless you discriminate against men.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 700.

    I think its a great idea, its another boring day in the city with nothing to see. What we need is more top totty...tight dresses, plunging necklines, short skirts, leggings - if only there was more? Life would be that little bit more fantastic.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 699.

    686. John G

    " What a multi-tasking superstar Frau Merkel is managing the whole of Germany and Europe at the same time."

    She makes me hotter than July!

    I think Europe works thus: Germany has a policy demand. France objects. They have a Summit. And conclude Germany was right all along.

    The EU adopt this policy for all the other members nobody listens to anyway.

    And our Parliament gets to watch

 

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