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EU mulls gender quotas for corporations

Sept. 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM

BRUSSELS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- European Union justice commissioner Viviane Reding said European corporations might require quotas to increase the number of women in executive posts.

"I have not been an advocate of quotas for woman in senior business posts in the past, but given the lack of progress in this area, we might in the future have to consider taking initiatives at the European level," Reding said in a written statement reported in the EUobserver Wednesday.

Reding said she would meet with top corporate officials in the spring before she made a formal recommendation to increase the number of women in boardrooms.

Currently, women make up 10 percent of boardroom members, far fewer than their percentage in the workforce, which is close to 50 percent. Women also make up more than 50 percent of university graduates in Europe, the EUobserver said.

Reding said, "Depending on the outcome of this dialogue with industry, I will consider whether further initiatives will be necessary in 2012."

In Europe, Norway has already mandated woman make up 40 percent of public company board members and Britain is considering adopting quotas as a "last resort" said Mervyn Davies, who heads a government commission on gender issues.

Davies said woman make up only 7 percent of the board members at FTSE 250 companies.

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