Women get a quota on EU company boards from 2026
The management boards of companies listed on the EU stock exchanges must have at least 40% women in their composition. This is according to a new European directive on gender equality adopted by the EU Council on Monday.
The directive, which will have to be transposed into national law, states that at least 40% of non-executive director positions must be held by women by 2026. If member states choose to implement the new rules for executive and non-executive directors, the target will be 33% of all directorships by 2026.
Once a year, companies must provide information on how they are handling the appointments of women to meet the targets.
The authorities will take care to publish the names of the companies that have managed to achieve the goals for the appointments of women.
Those that fail will have to adjust their recruitment process by introducing benchmarking procedures between candidates against “clear and neutrally formulated criteria”, the adopted directive said. And when they have to choose between equally qualified candidates – to prefer the woman.
A country that either came close to meeting the targets or introduced equally effective legislation before the directive entered into force could waive the directive’s requirements related to the appointment or selection process, the EU Council said.
“The new rules will help remove the obstacles that women often face in their careers. Companies would also greatly benefit from women realizing their potential in leadership positions. The positive impact of the measures will certainly reach all levels of national economies “, said Czech Social Minister Marian Yurečka, whose country currently holds the EU Council Presidency.
Currently, 31.5% of the board members of listed companies are women, and 8% of them are headed by women.
Gender equality in the EU is guaranteed by the EU’s founding treaties and by and in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Member States have two years after the entry into force of the directive to adopt the necessary national measures after the European Parliament has given it’s final yes.