EU Commission welcomes political agreement on Gender Balance on Corporate Boards


The European Commission welcomes the political agreement reached on June 8, 2022, between the European Parliament and the Council on the Directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies proposed by the Commission in 2012.

Europe has many highly qualified women with 60% of current university graduates being female. Nevertheless, women are underrepresented in high level positions, including in corporate boards and the progress is very slow. Only a third of members of non-executive corporate boards are women and this is even less among executive boards. The Directive sets a target for EU companies listed on the EU stock exchanges to accelerate the reach of better gender balance. It sets a share of 40% of the underrepresented sex among non-executive directors and 33% among all directors. These companies must ensure that board appointments procedures are clear and transparent, and that applicants are assessed objectively based on their individual merits, irrespective of gender.

In her political guidelines, President von der Leyen committed to building a majority to unblock the Directive on women on boards. Following the agreement, President von der Leyen, said: “Diversity is not only a matter of fairness. It also drives growth and innovation. The business case for having more women in leadership is clear. After ten years, since the European Commission proposed this directive, it is high time we break the glass ceiling. There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs: they should be able to get them.”

A press release is available online.