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EU rules to guarantee gender balance on boards must not be shelved by the Commission- Lynn Boylan MEP

7 December, 2014 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has voiced her alarm over possible moves to axe pending EU rules to guarantee gender balance on boards.

Speaking in Dublin today Ms Boylan said:

“BusinessEurope, the leading business lobby group in Europe, is exerting its considerable influence over the Commission by encouraging the Vice-President Frans Timmermans to drop progressive pending legislation aimed at guaranteeing gender balance on boards.

Dropping this legislation would be hugely retrograde step by Commission. Numerous studies have demonstrated that countries with better gender equality have faster-growing, more competitive economies.

According to the 2010 global gender gap report by the World Economic Forum, Norway and some other European countries that introduced a 40% quota for female board members, report that five years later the boards' performance is better than among companies without a female quota.

Additionally a study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute looked at over 2,300 companies and discovered that the stock prices of businesses with at least one woman on the board outperformed those without one by 26% over a period of six years.

 Europe needs this legislation. Ireland needs this legislation. For too long we have let gender balance issues linger in the background. Ireland’s women have undoubtedly come a long way since the ban on working after marriage was lifted, however this government is hardly leading by example when you consider that three out of fourteen government departments have failed to reach a 40% gender representation target set out in the Programme for Government.

A symptom of the lack of legislation is illustrated by the recent report by the Higher Education Authority that women are under-represented in senior academic posts in Ireland’s universities, institutes of technology and colleges.

This is unacceptable and business lobby must not be allowed push their agenda under the guise of protecting competitiveness.”

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