Gender Quotas on Boardroom Representation in Europe

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Series Details Volume 11, Number 3, Pages 62-64
Publication Date Autumn 2013
ISSN 1612-0663
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Gender imbalance on corporate boards has become a hot topic in Europe during the last decade. Women are still underrepresented in decision-making positions in business, especially at the highest levels of the corporate ladder. In 2012, women occupied only 16 percent of board seats of the 600 largest publicly listed companies in EU member states on average. Data from the European Commission shows a wide divergence among the respective countries: while the share of women in boardrooms is over 25 percent in Finland, France, Latvia and Sweden, the figure averages out at just eight percent in southern member states. In Germany 18 percent of leadership positions in business are held by women.

Other European countries boast higher shares of women in boardrooms, with Norway at 44 percent and Iceland at 36 percent. To increase the share of women on corporate boards, several countries in Europe have implemented mandatory legislative measures in the form of gender quotas.

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