S&D Euro MPs today backed a proposal to boost gender equality in top jobs – calling for a target of 40% of women in the top management of companies listed on the stock exchange by 2020.
Today, only 17.6% of non-executive directors are women and just 2.4% of chief executives.
S&D Euro MP and European Parliament negotiator Evelyn Regner said:
"This EU law is a step forward to ensure equal opportunities between men and women for top jobs. Too many skilled, highly qualified and talented women are currently excluded from company boards simply because they are women.
"A better gender balance on company boards is good for business and sound management – and good for men and women.
"There will be more transparency in recruitment procedures to make sure they are based on merit. We need to end the system of so-called 'old boys networks'.
"There will be sanctions for companies that fail to ensure that equally qualified women are better represented on boards.
"The European Parliament has played its part and now the ball is in the Council's court. It is high time the law was used to ensure that all talents are used on the labour market."
S&D Group spokeswoman Britta Thomsen added:
"Today, the European Parliament is sending a strong signal calling for EU legislation to bring gender balance to the boards of listed companies.
"The gender equality that is already a legal reality in some member states will soon be extended to the rest of Europe – finally Europe can use the talents of our highly skilled women, who are often more educated than men.
"It is time to correct an outdated, unfair situation."