Gender balance on company boards

EESC opinion: Gender balance on company boards

Key points


  • welcomes the proposal for a directive for improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on the stock exchange with a minimum objective of 40% by 2020;
  • recognises the need to respect the freedom to conduct business. This directive is a minimum standard which seeks to improve the conditions for business prosperity and allows Member States to progress beyond the measures recommended;
  • hopes that this minimum standard could be adopted by all public and private decision-making bodies in the spirit of self-regulation in order to avoid further legislation;
  • further recommends that policymakers and companies review the following issues to ensure the 40% target is achieved and exceeded:

- better visibility of women in senior roles;

- greater transparency in headhunting talent;

- building and retaining a critical mass;

- challenging stereotypes around gendered roles;

- leadership succession planning;

- creation of a talent pipeline;

- disseminating examples of good practice;

- creating a European-wide coordinated database of qualified women for board positions.

  • calls for this proposal for a directive to include specific provisions concerning the gender balance for members of the board of directors representing the company's employees, bearing in mind the particular terms of their appointment.