Friday, January 25 14:54:39
Mid-term figures released by the EU Commission today show that, while the share of women on company boards is steadily increasing in most EU countries, Ireland has recorded no change in the past 12 months.
The new figures show an increase in women on boards during the last year in all but three EU countries (Bulgaria, Poland and Ireland), with the average share across the EU now sitting at 15.8pc, up from 13.7pc in January 2012.
This breaks down into an average of 17pc of non-executive board members (up from 15pc in January 2012) and 10pc of executive board members (up from 8.9pc).
Bulgaria is the only country where there was a notable decline (down by four percentage points), while Poland and Ireland show no change at 12pc and 9pc respectively.
The new figures represent a 2.2 percentage point increase as compared to October 2011 - the highest year-on-year change recorded to date.
This boost follows the "Women on Boards" proposal that the Commission brought forward in November 2012 to introduce a 40pc gender target for women on boards, with the aim of accelerating progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards of Europe.
Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding presented the new figures at the World Economic Forum in Davos today when speaking at a session on "Women in economic decision making" with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde.
"The proof is in the pudding: regulatory pressure works. Companies are finally starting to understand that if they want to remain competitive in an ageing society they cannot afford to ignore female talent: 60pc of university graduates are women," said Vice-President Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
"The example set by countries such as Belgium, France and Italy, who have recently adopted legislation and are starting to show progress, clearly demonstrates that time-limited regulatory intervention can make all the difference. The Europe-wide law we have put on the table will make sure existing talent is used, boosting gender balance evenly across all company boards throughout the single market."
(By Joe O'Connor)