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EU Lawmakers Agree Gender-Diversity Directive

A new directive which aims to ensure women make up at least 40% of non-executive directors and 33% of all directors at EU-listed companies has been agreed by the European Parliament and Council. Currently only a third of non-executive directors are female, with the number even lower for executive boards. The directive also requires companies have clear and transparent board appointment procedures – for example, if the target for gender balance has not been achieved, preference must be given to female candidates applying to non-executive and director-level roles. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Diversity is not only a matter of fairness. It also drives growth and innovation. The business case for having more women in leadership is clear. After ten years, since the European Commission proposed this directive, it is high time we break the glass ceiling. There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs: they should be able to get them.” The agreement is now subject to formal approval by co-legislators and will then pass into force 20 days after the publication of the directive.  


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