The European Union has agreed to impose gender quotas to ensure women have at least 40 per cent of seats on the boards of large companies.
After a decade of deadlock on the topic, the proposal got new momentum this year with fresh backing from Germany and France, and a political agreement was finally reached on Tuesday between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
The legislation requires listed companies in all 27 EU member states to have women take up at least 40 per cent of non-executive board seats or 33 per cent of all board director roles by mid-2026.
Companies could be fined for failing to hire enough women on their boards and see director appointments cancelled for non-compliance with the law.
“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,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs: they should be able to get them”.