Under proposed legislation, publicly-listed companies in Europe will be fined if fewer than 40% of their non-exec board positions are occupied by women come 2020.
Data for the EU’s 27 member states suggests women currently occupy around one seventh (14%) of board positions in large firms.
If passed, the new regulations will target companies with more than 250 employees or with revenues of more than €50m. The news follows research from campaign group Boardwatch, which shows only four of the 87 executives appointed by FTSE 100 companies in the past two years have been women. The report finds that 6.5% of executives in the UK’s largest firms are women (up from 5.5% in January 2011). That percentage creeps up to 16.7% for director-level posts.