More than half big Dutch firms have one woman on their boards

The slow march by women into Dutch company boardrooms may be gathering pace, according to the latest issue of the Female Board Index, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

After seven years, the index shows that more than half of 85 big Dutch  companies have at least one women on either the management or supervisory board. And 24 of the 69 new supervisory board members appointed last year were female, the Volkskrant says.

If this pace continues, the Netherlands will reach the EU target of 40% female board membership within five years, Tilburg University professor and index compiler Mijntje Lückerath told the paper.

DE Master Blenders, DSM, Unilever and Wessanen now reach the Brussels standard.


The Netherlands is due to introduce a ‘legal target’ to ensure 30% of both boards are female by 2016. If firms don’t reach this, they will have to explain why and how they plan to improve the situation in their annual reports, the Volkskrant says.

‘This has definitely helped, but diversity is now being seen by firms as an important precondition to becoming more competitive and innovative,’ Lückerath told the paper. ‘This is because you don’t get stuck in a rut of the same people and ideas.’

Female supervisory board members also tend to be younger than their male colleagues and come from different backgrounds. The more women on boards, the more women get appointed and this snowball effect will continue in the coming years, Lückerath says.

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