European Union countries agree that women should have a quota in major European companies. For example, they want at least 40 percent of supervisory boards to be women within five years at the latest. 33 percent, a third, must apply to boards of directors. The Ministers of Social Affairs and Employment of the Member States agreed on this matter together.
The European stake does not directly affect companies in the Netherlands. The women’s quota has been in effect here since January 1. At least 33 percent of the upper class in the Dutch business community must be women. Therefore, the Council of Ministers should, in theory, increase the share of the Supervisory Board to 40 percent.
But this is not necessary, according to the Minister of Social Affairs, Karen van Genip. Under European rules, countries that have just passed “ambitious” legislation to increase the number of women in business do not have to change anything for the first five years.
Holland and Germany via
According to PvdA’s MEP, Lara Wolters, there is still debate about what exactly the “ambitious legislation” will entail. “The intention is that all countries will meet these quotas,” he added.
She is pleased that EU countries have now agreed to a women’s quota. “It’s sad that it took more than 10 years,” Walters says. In 2013, the European Parliament voted in favor of a women’s quota. But the plan did not go beyond consultations between member states because some countries were obstructing it.
This included the Netherlands and Germany. Not because they were against quotas in principle, but because they felt that this could be better arranged at the national level.
Samira Rafaela, the MEP for the D66, thinks it’s an outdated argument. “In all those years, very little happened. It can be proven statistically. To this day there are still councils with only men.”
According to Ravella, it is important that this be regulated at the European level. “There should be a level playing field for women across the EU. There should be no difference between countries that do well and countries that do nothing.”
A few months ago, it was the head of the German committee von der Leyen who pressed this issue. She wanted to work on legislation. Last month, Germany announced – with a new government – that it would agree. Thus, the biggest stumbling block was overcome.
Poland and Sweden are still against
Only Poland and Sweden voted against this day. Poland opposes the women’s quota on principle. On the other hand, Sweden is not against the quota system, but it does not want the European Union to impose such a measure. The country wants to do it itself. The resistance of Poland and Sweden does not affect the outcome: a simple majority decides in this case.
The fact that the EU countries have reached an agreement does not mean that everything is complete. Countries and the European Parliament will negotiate together what the rules will look like. But it is now certain that the share will come. Last fall, only three out of ten directors of large companies were women in the European Union.
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