Equal opportunities minister Ingrid van Engelshoven hopes there is now majority support in parliament for introducing quotes for female executives at big Dutch companies, following a u-turn by the Christian Democrats, she has told broadcaster NOS.
The CDA on Wednesday said it would now support draft legislation drawn up by coalition partner D66 to make sure that listed company supervisory boards are made up of at least 30% women.
In September, the government’s SER advisory body called for compulsory quotas to make company leadership a fairer reflection of society. The business association the VNO NCW has also come out in support of a quota for the first time.
Earlier this year Engelshoven said she aimed to ‘name and shame’ large companies with a lack of women at board level, saying only 13 of the largest 200 met the government target and that their excuses were often ‘pathetic’.
Now the CDA has changed its position ‘we will get to work on the SER recommendations and bring in a quota,’ the minister told broadcaster NOS.
The other two coalition parties – the right wing VVD and the small Christian party ChristenUnie – both say they will vote against a quota. The vote will take place next week.
The number of women in boardroom jobs at Dutch listed companies did improve last year, but the total is still far below government targets of 30%, according to the latest issue of the Female Board Index, which was published in September.
In total, a record 25% of the 29 management board appointments at 88 Dutch listed companies last year were women, index founder Mijntje Luckerath told the NRC.
The 88 companies followed for the index have a total of 213 boardroom functions, and 8.5% of the jobs are now done by women. In terms of supervisory boards, women now account for nearly 27% of the 455 jobs at listed firms – almost the quota level.
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