Efforts to achieve gender balance in business and finance are losing momentum as governments continue to waver on introducing hard quotas to boardrooms, according to EIGE’s latest data.

Ensuring that women are in decision-making positions within business and finance is a decisive step forward towards achieving greater gender equality in our society.

“EIGE’s publication on gender balance in business and finance shows that after some progress, gender equality within boardrooms is stalling. This fact proves how important it is to keep the ball rolling with regard to the Gender Balance on Company Boards Directive. The adoption of this proposal will ensure that workplaces across the EU are more attentive to gender equality at all levels and across sectors. Let us use all talents and skills and build an EU where women can lead equally.” Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality.

EIGE’s data on gender balance in business and finance serve as a reminder why the draft Women on Boards Directive, agreed this March by the Council of the EU, is an excellent opportunity to make these crucial improvements.

“EIGE’s data is crucial in revealing best practices to achieve gender equality in business in finance. Our latest statistical brief shows that legislative action such as hard quotas are simply the most efficient and effective method to achieve rapid improvements when it comes to increasing women in boards when compared to countries who have taken soft measures or no action at all.” – Carlien Scheele, EIGE Director.

France remains the only member state to achieve over 40% of women on boards. The introduction of legislative quotas from 2010 and 2015 led to rapid improvements in representation of women on boards in France, Germany and Italy, but progress since has stalls as countries fail to take action. In countries that have taken no action, the proportion of women on boards rose less than 3% from last year. Even with increases in representation on boards, less than 1 in 10 of the largest listed companies in the EU-27 have a women chair or CEO.

This data shows that there is still a long way to go to reap the social and economic benefits of gender-balanced workplaces. By introducing national quotas for more women in decision-making positions, taking active measures to tackle vertical segregation in business and finance, and by closing the 35% gender gap in financial activities, policymakers, civil society, business leaders, and individuals can take important steps forward to help achieve gender balance in business and finance.

Over the next few months, EIGE will highlight both the problems and the solutions to show how #3StepsForward can become a broad action plan for all to unite behind to make gender equality a reality for all.

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Statistical brief: gender balance in business and finance 2021

EIGE's Gender Statistics Database