A historic decision on gender equality – Women on Boards Directive

The European Parliament adopted new rules this Tuesday on gender balance from corporate boards. By 2026, companies will need to have 40% of the underrepresented sex among non-executive directors or 33% among all directors. European Union invites large companies listed on the stock exchange to have 40% of the non-executive administrator positions occupied by women.

“This is a long-awaited moment, a moment to be celebrated as a breakthrough in gender equality. After ten years since its proposal by the European Commission, we will now have an EU law to break the glass ceiling of listed companies boards. There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs and with our new European law, we will make sure that they have a real chance to get them.”, said president Ursula von der Leyen.

The adoption of the Women on Boards Directive – ten years after its proposal – represents an important step forward for gender equality. Finally, we give women a fair chance to be in top corporate positions and improve corporate governance. Women are innovative, intelligent, strong and capable of many things.  We are removing one of the main hurdles for women to get the ‘top jobs’: informal male networks. From now on, competence will count more.”, said Evelyn Regner, MEP Austria.

The voice of female representatives in Romanian politics

Anca Dragu, vice-president of USR: „The EU is breaking the glass ceiling through this new gender balance targets on company boards. It took 10 years for the Council to adopt it from the launching by the European Commission. It is more and more obvious that companies with a higher female presence on the boards of companies are more efficient. This is a step towards a normal society where men and women are equal. Also, this is in line with sustainable development goals.”

Anca Dragu

Mara Daniela Calista, member of Parliament, Vice president of the Committee for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Chamber of Deputies: „I’m really happy about this decision of the European Parliament, in an era when we talk about the representation of women as CEO’s or non-executive positions in the companies listed on the stock exchange.

Mara Daniela Calista

In Romania, it’s absolutely normal for women to be more representative and to have more positions as leaders, whether we encourage them to do so in the private sector, or in the public area. There are 51% of women in Romania. Unfortunately, we have, for example only 20% of women in the Romanian Parliament and only two women as ministers in the Romanian Government. The situation tends to be better when we look at the private sector, because in Romania we have almost 40% of women as CEO’s. When it comes to state companies, where the state has the majority, the situation is not so good.

Every country that now has women representativity for more than 30%-50% had at a certain point women quota. We need it in the political field and we now have in the debate this project in the Chamber of Deputies, but we also need it when it comes to other sectors where are more men, where they are better paid, they have bigger salaries and bigger pensions. We need to understand that being a woman is not a weakness, we are very well prepared and educated to be in such a decision position – public or private – (in Romania more women have a college degree in comparison to men) and it’s well known the fact (demonstrated by studies) that any activity led by mixed teams are more productive.

So, I really hope that Romania is going to put into practice this Directive as soon as possible and we are going to be able to understand that the meritocracy condition is going to be respected and that the mechanism of selection will be completely transparent.”

Oana Țoiu, president of the Committee for Youth and Sports in the Chamber of Deputies, a deputy from Bucharest and member of the National Bureau of USR: „Romania already has a much better percentage than other countries, 36% participation of women in entrepreneurship, and it has resources to select extremely good women who understand the technical fields of activity. There is no excuse not to do it.”

Oana Țoiu

Foto of European Parliament: Unsplash/Guillaume Perigois

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