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Wednesday, 03 October 2012

EU commissioner up for 'fight' on gender quotas

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has said she is up for an "interesting fight" within the commission itself and with nine member states opposing draft legislation on gender quotas for top jobs in companies. The legislative proposal, which is still in the drafting stage, aims at obliging publicly listed companies in the EU to reach a 40 percent quota of the "under-represented sex" on their boards by 2020. Sanctions, including fines, will be left to member states to decide and impose.
Currently, less than 14 percent of board members are women and it would take another 40 years at least to bridge the gender gap. Binding quotas are needed, Reding argues, because all voluntary systems so far have failed.
The process had barely started within the legislative machinery before nine EU countries led by the UK publicly stated their opposition to the initiative, citing national competence on the matter.
Within the European Commission about a third of the 27 members are against the proposal, including female colleagues. Neelie Kroes from the Netherlands, although a personal believer in women's rights, last week told the FT that she supports the goal, but that this "should not be imposed from the European level."
Source: EU Observer

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