The Financial Times reports today that Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner, will next month propose that listed companies “will be forced to reserve at least 40 per cent of their non-executive board seats for women by 2020 or face fines”. The FT points out that such rules could be adopted by majority voting, so the UK would not have a veto. The draft of the proposals obtained by the FT suggests that the proposals would apply to companies with more than 250 employees or more than Euro 50 million in revenues, with those failing to meet the mandatory quota being subject to “administrative fines” and, more seriously, potentially being barred from state aid and contracts.
For the origin of the phrase “golden skirts”, see here.
For Euractiv’s report on the Reding proposals, see here.
Inquiry into Women in the Workplace
Also today, the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee announced a new inquiry into “Women in the Workplace”, to consider:
“• Do the Gender Equality Duty and the Equality Act go far enough in tackling inequalities, such as gender pay gap and job segregation, between men and women in the workplace?
o What steps should be taken to provide greater transparency on pay and other issues, such as workforce composition?
• What has been the impact of the current economic crisis on female employment and wage levels?
• How should the gender stereotyping prevalent in particular occupations, for example in engineering, banking, construction, and the beauty industry, be tackled?
• What more should be done to promote part-time work at all levels of the workplace and to ensure that both women and men have opportunities to gain senior positions within an organisation while working part time?
• To what extent have the recommendations in Lord Mervyn Davies’ Report “Women on Board” (published in February 2011) been acted upon?
o To what extent should investors take into account the percentage of women on boards, when considering company reporting and appointments to the board?
o Why are there still so few women in senior positions on boards, and what are the benefits of having a greater number?
o How successful is the voluntary code of conduct (a recommendation of the Davies Report) which addresses gender diversity and best practice, covering relevant search criteria and processes relating to FTSE board level appointments?”
That inquiry closes on 5 October 2012.