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Germany to drop opposition to European Union plans for women’s quota on corporate boards

A representative for the incoming German government told the media that the efforts of European Union to create a quota for women on company boards are being reexamined, raising the possibility that European legislation that has been stuck since 2012 may finally be unblocked.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a fresh campaign to increase women’s representation on corporate boards.

In the past, Germany and the Nordic and Baltic states opposed such a quota, believing that the issue should be resolved at the national level. “It’s time to move forward with this file,” said von der Leyen, the first woman to manage the EU executive in Brussels. Ursula is a vocal supporter of a women’s quota while she was a German government minister.

“It’s been on the shelf for ten years, but there’s been a lot of movement and learning over that time.” She was alluding to a 2012 plan that called for at least 40 percent of non-executive board positions in EU listed businesses to be filled by women.

Von der Leyen now seeks the cooperation of Berlin’s new government as well as France, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU for the next six months.

“The German government is concerned about the equitable participation of women and men in committees,” a representative for the German government said. “The ministries are currently examining the European Commission’s legal proposal in order to reach a consensus.”

According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, France now has the highest female presence in the boardrooms of the largest publicly traded firms, at 45.3 percent, compared to a 30.6 percent average for the European Union as a whole.


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