Forced quotas are introduced throughout the EU

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Published 23 November 2022 at 08.57

EU. The European Parliament has said yes to new feminist rules for quotas in company boards. By July 2026 at the latest, all large listed companies in the EU must bring more women into company management. By July 2026 at the latest, all large listed companies in the EU must bring more women into company management.

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The directive on women on boards was adopted on Tuesday – ten years after the proposal was first made.

This means that at least four out of ten non-executive board positions or one third of all directorships must be held of the underrepresented gender by the end of June 2026 at the latest.

Listed companies must inform the competent authorities about the gender distribution on their boards once a year. If the objectives have not been achieved, they must state how they intend to remedy this. This information must be published on the company's website and be easy to find.

SMEs with fewer than 250 employees are not affected by the new rules in the directive.

EU countries must according to parliament to introduce rules on “effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties”, such as fines, for companies refusing quotas. A judicial body can also invalidate the board elected by the company if it violates the principles of the directive.

Now that Parliament and the Council have formally given the green light, the directive will enter into force 20 days after it is published in the EU s official newspaper. The member states have two years to introduce the feminist rules.

In 2021, 30.6 percent of the board members of the EU's largest listed companies were women, with significant differences between the member states (from 45.3 percent in France to 8.5 percent in Cyprus). Even with increasingly quota-based boards, fewer than 1 in 10 of the largest listed companies in EU countries in 2022 will have a female chairman or CEO.