During today’s plenary, the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament will call on the member states to finally adopt the so called ‘Women on Boards’ Directive that introduces an open and transparent procedure to reach the quota of women on non-executive boards of EU companies to 40%.
The European Commission presented the proposal back in 2012, the European Parliament adopted its position the following year, and since then it has been blocked by a minority of member states in the Council. In autumn last year, the new Spanish government under Socialist leadership lifted its reservations. We now call on the Romanian presidency to put this important file back on the agenda. There is a risk that if we have no agreement before the end of the mandate, the next Commission will withdraw it.
S&D leader Udo Bullmann said:
“Everybody talks about making gender equality a reality. Now it is time to put your cards on the table if you really want a Europe that benefits from the abilities of both men and women.
“I am pleased with the decision taken by Pedro Sanchez’s government to drop the reservations its conservative predecessor had on the Women on Boards Directive. We now expect the other member states to keep up the momentum and break down the minority, which has been blocking this important Directive for far too long.
“This message goes particularly to my home country Germany, where our coalition CDU/CSU partner is still against. Please do not repeat the false arguments that we do not have enough qualified women in Germany and Europe, because we have!”
European Parliament co-rapporteur on this issue in the legal affairs committee, S&D MEP Evelyn Regner said:
“Progress in the sphere of women on company boards is still too slow. If we want to be serious and ensure equal opportunities between men and women in top management jobs, we need this Directive.
“I have no doubt that everybody will benefit from the new rules, including the companies primarily. The best performing companies have the most diverse boards, with directors bringing a whole range of perspectives and experiences. I also believe that a better gender balance on company boards would set a good example and would have a trickle-down effect on the entire business culture.”
S&D Group spokesperson on women's rights and gender equality Iratxe García Pérez added:
“For years, the Socialists and Democrats have fought tirelessly for real gender equality and we were instrumental in helping the European Commission put the Women on Boards Directive on the table. The European Parliament played its part and adopted it already 6 years ago. It is high time for the Council to follow. We have to ensure that women’s talents are no longer excluded from the top of the labour market.
“Ahead of European election, the European Union should send a strong signal that it really cares about gender equality. Not only in words but also by concrete actions."