PES celebrates agreement on women on boards Directive

PES celebrates agreement on women on boards Directive

The proposed law – driven forward by European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, and co-rapporteurs Lara Wolters (S&D, NL) and Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT) – will improve gender balance among directors of companies in Europe, realising a long-standing goal of socialists and democrats.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“This success is down to the hard work of Commissioner Dalli and co-rapporteurs Lara Wolters and Evelyn Regner, as well as progressives in the Council. After a decade of centre-right stalling, the new SPD-led government in Germany unlocked the stalemate. This agreement is a big step forward for women, and for equality for all in Europe. We want to see it put in place urgently.”

PES Women President Zita Gurmai said:

“This agreement is fantastic news. For too long, women have been locked out of corporate leadership in Europe. This is grossly unfair, but it also damaging for everyone. If we want strong, successful, companies here in Europe, we must utilise the skills and talents of all Europeans. This is what this Directive achieves: working towards more boardroom equality and diversity in 27 Member States. This lays the groundwork for more gender balanced decision making throughout the EU.”

In February this year, PES Women called for progress on the Directive under the French presidency of the Council of the EU. The Directive was also the subject of a PES Women campaign in 2020, and part of a range of policy proposals in the 2020 PES Women publication A feminist economy for Europe.

Currently, only one member state has national legislation on boardroom equality, and 18 have no legislation at all. The Women on Boards Directive will introduce an open and transparent procedure to reach a minimum of 40% of women on non-executive boards of EU companies by the end of June 2026 with binding measures to achieve that goal. For member states that introduce quotas in both executive and non-executive boards, the overall minimum requirement will be 33%.

The proposal was presented by the European Commission in 2012, with the European Parliament adopting its position in 2013. Earlier this year, it was unblocked in the Council by the new SPD-led German government.