BUSINESS

EU unveils plan to get more women in company boardrooms, penalties left to member countries

11/14/2012 07:58 EST | Updated 01/14/2013 05:12 EST
BRUSSELS - The European Commission wants more women in the boardrooms of large European companies, saying it's a matter not only of fairness but of good business sense.

Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding says the target is to have women comprise at least 40 per cent of the boards of publicly traded European companies by 2020, and by 2018 for state-owned companies.

As of 2016, she says, companies where women make up less than 40 per cent will have to choose qualified women to fill vacancies or face penalties. Individual EU countries will set the penalties, possibly including fines or the annulment of the appointment of a male board member.

At present, women make up 15 per cent of the board membership of Europe's largest companies. "This is a waste of talent," Reding said Wednesday.