Tuesday 10 December 2019

MPs back female quotas for supervisory boards, VVD votes against

MPs on Tuesday voted to bring in a compulsory quota requiring the supervisory boards of listed companies to ensure at least 30% of their members are women.

The proposal was opposed by the VVD and ChristenUnie coalition parties as well as the anti-immigration PVV and nationalist FvD. The vote should have been taken last week but was delayed by the Socialist Party, who said the measure did not go far enough.

In September, the government’s SER advisory body called for compulsory quotas to make company leadership a fairer reflection of society. The VNO NCW business lobby group has also come out in support of a quota for the first time.

Earlier this year emancipation minister Ingrid van 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’.

Improvements

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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