EU scales back board gender quota plan

EU scales back board gender quota plan

BRUSSELS - Reuters
The European Commission has dropped a plan to force firms to give 40 percent of non-executive board positions to women in favor of a less drastic obligation to favor female candidates where they are equally qualified, a source from European Union said yesterday.

The new proposal would now oblige companies with more than 250 staff to favor “the underrepresented sex” from 2016 onward in order to achieve 40 percent female representation, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

European Union member countries would have the power to determine and impose sanctions on firms that did not obey the rule.

Impose strict quotas is ‘problematic’

The quota proposal had run into opposition from a number of countries, led by Britain, and from large firms.

Commission lawyers said it was “problematic” for the European Union to impose strict quotas, though it could instruct companies on how to hit quotas.

 The 27 European Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposal today.

If a majority approve, the plan will then be voted on by the European Parliament and the 27 member countries.