More women enter Dutch boardrooms but progress is slow


There was a slight increase in the number of women in management positions at big Dutch companies between 2020 and 2022, but the total is still far from government targets, according to research by the SER advisory group.

In 2022, 14.7% of board members at big Dutch firms were female, an increase of just under one percentage point on 2020, SER said. However, 45% of all newly-named supervisory board members and 27% of management board members who were appointed in 2022 were women, indicating change is on the way.

The position of women was better on supervisory boards, where 26.2% of members are female, compared with just under 22% two years previously. Companies that are listed on the stock exchange are required by law to work towards ensuring one-third of their supervisory board members are women.

Nevertheless, 61% of management boards and 35% of supervisory boards had no female members at all last year, the SER research showed.

There are also sharp sector-based differences. In the construction sector, women make up fewer than 6% of management team members but their share of the boardroom seats rises to almost 42% in culture, sports and recreation.

Almost 11% of building and civil engineering firm supervisory board members are women, but in the culture and sport sector, they dominate, with 57.5% of the supervisory board places.

Some 5,700 Dutch firms were asked to provide information about the ratio of men to women on their boards but just over 2,000 did so, even though they are required to do so by law.

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