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.