Mediafax (Mediafax)
Business  |  November 14, 2012 14:00:51

The European Commission wants 40 percent of women in business leadership


PRAGUE (MEDIAFAX) - The management of large European companies, ie administrative and supervisory boards, over the following eight years should be at least 40 percent of women. Plans to the European Commission Directive, which was approved on Wednesday in Brussels.

Currently dominated by the governing bodies of men, over 85 percent of non-executive managers and 91.1 percent of executive management bodies, while women are 15 percent of the shares and 8.9 percent. The statistics show an unequal position, since 2003, the average number of women in decision-making bodies increased by only 0.6 percentage point per year.

Commission wants new measures to break the "glass ceiling" that prevents women reach the highest offices in the largest European companies and achieve a more balanced representation between men and women.

The proposed Directive provides for a 40 percent representation of women among the non-executive members of the management bodies of companies listed on the exchange. Companies that have a lower proportion of women in leadership, will have to appoint staff to these positions based on the analysis of the qualifications of each candidate. In case of equal qualifications will be preferred woman. Forty representation of women in management companies, companies must meet by 2020, state-owned enterprises that have less of two years, ie target to be met by 2018.

EU Member States will have to provide for penalties for businesses that fail to comply with this Directive.

The Regulation will apply to an estimated some 5,000 listed companies in the European Union. Does not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (with fewer than 250 employees worldwide and annual turnover not exceeding € 50 million) and non-listed companies.

Analysis of the European Commission in March 2012 showed that, in corporate governance in the EU is dominated by men. Large differences exist between countries. In the management of the largest companies in Finland, the proportion of women reaches 27 percent, in Latvia it is 26 percent, but in Malta are women represented just three percent and four percent in Cyprus.

Number of women presiding governing bodies of large and even decreased, from 3.4 percent in 2010 to 3.2 percent in January 2012.

Czech firms have responded to the new Directive considerably critically. "It's a typically bureaucratic decision," said Jaroslav Hanak, president of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, which represents the most important part of the domestic industry and attitude to the Directive.

The management of the Czech industry argues that it is not reasonable or efficient to interfere in this way with the rights of businesses. Takes the principle of voluntary and non-binding. "The approach the Commission and establish legally binding quotas not step in the right direction. Consider it contrary counterproductive," said Hanak. It refers to the number of heavy industries and transport in the Czech Republic, where it is not easy to meet a quota so that the benefit of the company. The Association is also concerned about penalties for failure to comply with the directive.

Jitka Zadražilová, zadrazilova@mediafax.cz

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