On Wednesday, negotiators from the EU states and the EU Parliament agreed on binding quotas for women in the management bodies of listed companies. The EU countries should be able to choose between two models by 2026.
Either at least 40 percent of the non-executive supervisory board members should be women. Or supervisory boards and executive boards together must achieve a proportion of women of at least 33 percent.
Such a requirement is “long overdue,” said the Vice President of the EU Parliament, Evelyn Regner from the SPÖ. “According to estimates by the European Institute for Gender Equality, currently only 30.6 percent of supervisory board members are female and only 8.5 percent of executive boards in the EU are women,” said the Austrian, who was involved in the negotiations as chief negotiator.
According to a report by “Zeit”, France is the only one of the 27 EU countries to already meet the new requirements from Brussels with a quota of 45 percent, while small Estonia only has a women’s quota of nine percent. In Austria, the Equal Opportunities Act for Women and Men on Supervisory Boards (GFMA-G) has been in force for private companies since January 1, 2018. The target of 30 percent for women and men on the supervisory boards of listed and large companies (with more than 1000 employees) applies.
While the proportion of women on the supervisory board of listed companies was around 16.1 percent in 2017, according to the Federal Chancellery, it rose to 32.3 percent in 2021 among listed companies. In the case of stock exchange companies that are not subject to a quota, the proportion of women in 2021 will be only 18.3 percent.
According to a “Spiegel” report, it is planned that companies that do not comply with EU decisions should be fined. However, it is not yet known how high these penalties should be.