Belgium plans 30 pct quota of women on management boards

16th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's parliament on Thursday adopted a plan to force state and public companies to give women 30 percent of seats on management boards, following in the footsteps of similar legislation in France and Norway.

Still to be approved by the Senate, or upper house, the legislation provides for the quota system to come into force from next year in state-owned companies such as telecoms operator Belgacom, the postal service and the lottery.

Under the new rules, each time a board member ends his mandate he is to be replaced by a woman until the 30 percent quota is fulfilled.

Companies quoted on the stock exchange will have five years to reach the 30 percent quota, with the exception of small- and medium-sized firms which will be given eight years to attain it.

The centre-right French-speaking CDH party said women accounted for less than seven percent of board members in public companies last year.

Norway was the world's first country to impose a similar 40 percent quota system, enforced for the state sector in 2004 and extended to the private sector in 2008.

French companies with at least 500 staff will have to prove a 20 percent female ratio in 2014, followed by 40 percent in 2017.

© 2011 AFP

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