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UK threatens firms with gender quotas

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Friday, 19 April 2013

UK threatens firms with gender quotas

The British government, which has staunchly opposed EU efforts to set gender quotas for corporate management, has warned it could introduce quotas if British companies fail to appoint more women to their boards.
The move could give renewed impetus to the gender quota proposal launched last November by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, which was heavy criticised by Britain. “Companies should be under no illusion that [the UK] government will adopt tougher measures if necessary,” UK Business Secretary Vince Cable told the daily Standard on 10 April.“Quotas are still a real possibility if we do not meet the 25% [UK] target,” Cable added.
The warning came in the wake of a report also published last week indicating that the pace of women’s appointments to UK boards is slowing.
Published by the Cranfield School of Management, the report found that during the second half of last year the number of women appointed to boards of the 100 largest listed UK companies fell from 44% to 26%, whilst female appointments to the boards of the next 250 largest UK listed companies also fell from 36% to 29%.
In November 2012, the EU proposed a legislative action which set the objective of achieving 40% women in non-executive board-member positions in publicly listed companies, with the exception of small and medium enterprises, by 2020 for private companies, whilst public undertakings would be expected to reach the target more quickly, by 2018.
On 13 March the European Parliament backed the Commission’s pledge to create binding rules to increase the number of women in top jobs, if member states have not voluntarily taken action to redress gender imbalance in the workplace.
In June 2013, the EU Commission is to assess results of the consultation on the matter and come up with appropriate measures.

Source: Euractiv