More women on boards
What governments are doing

EY - More women on boards: what governments are doing
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You are reading an article from the Index of women in power and utilities series. To read more, visit the homepage.

Impatient with the slow pace of voluntary change, a number of countries have introduced or are introducing legislative or corporate governance measures to promote better gender diversity on boards.

Click on the flags below to learn more about the measures being taken by the country.

Australia

Belgium

Brazil

Canada

Finland

France

Germany

Iceland

Italy

Israel

Kenya

Malaysia

Mexico

The Netherlands

Norway

New Zealand

Philippines

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

 

UK

US

 

These actions have been taken for various reasons, from wanting boards to be more just and representative, to improving the professionalism of board nominations, to better business performance.

It’s encouraging to see such a large number of countries pursuing these policies and programs, because it isn’t just “the right thing to do” — gender diversity on boards delivers measurable economic benefits.

Read the full report.


Read related articles from the Index of women in power and utilities.

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EY - Both men and women are needed to achieve change EY - Talented women EY - A seat at the table EY - Don’t ignore the evidence

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Australia

Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill amended in 2012; public disclosure of gender equality indicators required for companies from 2013. Minimum standards for gender equity for FY 2014-15 are no longer certain due to corporate lobbying over compliance costs.

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Belgium

Law introduced in 2012 to ensure at least one-third of directors of state-owned firms are of a different gender than the majority.

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Brazil

Recommendations to Corporate Governance Code published by the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance in 1999 and revised in 2004; legislation for quota of 40% female representation on boards of state-controlled firms is under consideration.

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Canada

Law on equality (2011 target); Québec quota of 50-50 gender split on state-owned corporations' boards of directors; national proposed legislation for 40% female representation on boards by 2019.

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Finland

Legislation introduced in 2005 for quota of 40% for female board directors; regulation introduced in 2010 directs companies to issue a corporate governance statement which describes board composition.

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France

Corporate Governance Code adopted in 2011; quota requires publicly-listed companies to ensure 40% female representation on boards by 2017.

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Germany

Proposed legislation to ensure at least 30% female representation on boards of companies listed on German stock exchange from 2016.

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Iceland

Legislation passed in 2010 to have at least 40% of both genders on boards by September 2013.

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Italy

Corporate Governance Code adopted in 2009; gender parity law adopted in 2011 (targeting at least 20% representation for underrepresented gender by first renewal of board of directors and one-third by subsequent renewal).

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Israel

Adequate representation bill amended in 2007; proposed legislation to ensure at least 40% representation of each gender in boards with more than nine members.

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Kenya

Legislation passed in 2010 requires that no gender should occupy more than two-thirds of the board in state-owned companies.

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Malaysia

In 2011, the Prime Minister suggested a quota of 30% for females in decision-making positions across all Malaysian public listed companies by 2016.

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Mexico

Labor reform bill passed in 2010.

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The Netherlands

Legislative amendment (went into effect in 2013) requires each gender to hold at least 30% of the boards of listed companies. Mandate will cease by 2016 – companies required to comply or explain.

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Norway

Legislation introduced in 2003 mandated a 40% quota for females on boards of state-owned firms by 2006 and on boards of publicly traded firms by 2008.

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New Zealand

Corporate Governance Code adopted in 2012.

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Philippines

Legislation proposed in 2010 currently pending with the House of Representatives Committee on Women and Gender Equality.

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South Africa

Women empowerment and gender equality bill passed in 2014.

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Spain

Law on equality (compliance mandated from 2015) requires at least 40% and at most 60% representation of each gender on the boards.

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Sweden

Disclosure regulation passed in 2007, which required gender breakdown disclosure for the board of directors of publicly-traded companies.

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UK

Corporate Governance Code adopted in 2010; Lord Davies recommended UK FTSE 100 companies should aim for at least 25% female representation by 2015.

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US

Disclosure Regulation adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010.

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