On March 14, employment and social affairs ministers in the Council of the EU agreed on a proposed EU Directive aiming to improve the gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies.

Through this directive, the EU is seeking to achieve more balanced representation of men and women on the boards of listed companies.

Although progress has been made towards greater gender equality on corporate boards, this progress remains slow and uneven between member states. In October 2021, only 30.6% of board members and just 8.5% of board chairs were women.

The proposed Women on Boards Directive introduces an open and transparent procedure for listed EU companies to reach a minimum of 40% of their non-executive director positions or 33% of all board member positions, occupied by women, by 2027.

Increasing the proportion of women in economic decision-making positions is expected to have positive spill-over effects throughout the economy. Moreover, seeing that around 60% of new university graduates in the EU are women, this would also allow the large number of highly qualified women in Europe to realise their full potential.

The proposal will now need to be negotiated by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament.