Welcome from the Co-Chairs
Dear EWoB members and friends,We are delighted to welcome you to our first newsletter. Time has passed very quickly since the foundation of European Women on Boards (EWoB) in mid-2013 (you will find a video of our launch here). As you will recall, in June of that year, AFECA in France, BPF in Finland, Norwegian Institute of Directors and Women on Board in Belgium, came together to create a unique network of “first tier” associations working together to achieve a balanced representation of women on boards of directors. Since then EWoB has more than doubled its membership. Today we are delighted to say that EWoB covers 9 European countries, with a total of 10 member organizations. We invite you to find out more about our members, and their representatives on our Board, here and further in this newsletter.
Our aim continues to be the promotion of the benefits of gender diversity. on boards. The focus of our work is underpinned by a need to highlight to the business world the positive impact of women’s presence on company boards with regards to innovation and performance, while at the same time, emphasising the economic opportunity this presence offers for a more sustainable and inclusive growth. The importance of achieving our goals and the amount of work which remains to be done is amply demonstrated in the study reports we published earlier this year. This newsletter will give you an opportunity to find out more about our work and the projects we are currently involved in. In our next newsletter we will be showcasing our new achievements and on-going projects.
With best regards,
Marie-Ange Andrieux and Cécile Coune
An introduction to the EWoB Team
Under the leadership of our two Co-Chairs and two Vice Co-Chairs the EWoB work is carried out by a dedicated Board of Directors that bring together a diverse range of skills, competencies and nationalities. On the EWoB website you will find additional information on our Board of Directors, including their biographies.
The EWoB Advisory Board has a consultative role and advises the Board of Directors on strategic issues, as well as on the working of the different Working Committees.
In addition, since December 2014, our Project Manager has been responsible for working with the EWoB Board of Directors to make sure that our work and projects are successfully delivered.
An introduction to our members
In this issue we are pleased to introduce two of our founding members:
Belgium: Women on Board was created in 2009 to promote female access to directorship roles within Belgian enterprises (public and private). The Association is providing private and public enterprises with free-access to a pool of 230+ skilled women. Women on Board’s objective of convincing enterprises to make the change happen and promoting and facilitating greater female board representation is progressively materialising, as witnessed by the fact that more and more companies are contacting Women on Board and appointing female board members. Françoise Roels is the Chair of Women on Board.
France: Association des Femmes diplômées Expertise Comptable Administrateurs (AFECA)was created in October 2010 as a non-profit organisation with 600 members, all chartered accountants. Women chartered accountants represent 25% of the French profession. AFECA’s aim is to contribute to meeting, by 2017, the quotas, set by French legislation, of 40% of women on boards of companies with more than 500 employees and with a balance sheet or turnover of more than 50 million euros. AFECA contributes to this by providing board-ready certified public accountant women, in order to contribute to governance and competitiveness of companies. AFECA has also for objective to promote women capital in the accounting profession and in the economy, by promoting best practice and innovative business models based on enhancement of human capital value. AFECA’s Co-chairs are Marie-Ange Andrieux and Marie-Dominique Cavalli.
The EWoB Projects
The EWoB project portfolio consists of four core projects:
>The EWoB Studies: In late 2015 we started work on two studies, with Marie-Ange Andrieux and Roger Barker, as project co-owners, which inform the topical debate regarding gender diversity and inclusion on European boards. The studies were carried out with key stakeholders (companies, investors, institutions, women board candidates, etc.), with a view to assess the situation and to furthermore contribute progress in terms of women’s better participation in decision-making. The EWoB studies will be published every 3 years in order to enable comparison and benchmarking.
>Realising Europe’s potential: progress and challenges examines the participation of women directors on the boards of the STOXX 600 companies between 2011 and 2015. The study, which was co-funded by the Progress Programme of the European Union, also looks at other related topics such as the inclusion of women directors and board committees and the promotion of women into board leadership position. This study also identifies trends occurring at company, country, sector levels concerning board gender diversity which is driven mainly by the addition of independent, non-executive female directors.
>Realising Europe’s Potential: Experiences and Best Practices confirms the findings of EWoB’s first study, acknowledging that the “representation of female directors on boards of the largest European listed companies has almost doubled in the last five years”, while at the same time highlighting the need for organisations to measure gender diversity, established targets and actively monitor progress. The importance of women networks, such as EWoB, has been emphasised, in order to provide profiles in line with European boards’ needs and thus to improve board mandates efficiency.
“The proposed directive focuses its quantitative target of 40% on non-executive directors which are not involved in the daily management of the company. Nevertheless, the proposed directive gives Member States an alternative option – to set a target of 33% for both types of directors combined”
EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
>The Cross-Border Board-ready Women’s Network (X-BBRW) aims to create and promote an online pool of talented board-ready women with the profile to fill transnational, non-executive, directorship’s positions in Europe. This tool will be available, free of charge, to companies and organisations looking for talent. Work on this project is ongoing and will be unveiled on 25 October 2016 when the X-BBRW Network will be launched during a public event in Brussels.
>The Platform of Exchange of Best Practices, aims to disseminate best corporate governance practice (to manage and control a company, to find a fair balance between corporate governance-related parties such as board, shareholders, stakeholders, management, etc.) and balanced business models, from a gender diversity perspective. The platform is designed as a knowledge hub, enriched by interviews of key economic and financial players. The Platform will be launched on 29th September 2016.
>Mentoring Programmes, EWoB has 2 mentoring programmes:
>The EWoB Mentees programme, co-funded by the Progress Programme of the European Union, is a transnational pilot programme which matches mentees, from within the EWoB membership, and mentors from a cross-sector, international, companies. 22 mentees and 22 mentors have taken part in the pilot programme and a closing event will be held on 25th October 2016.
>The EWoB/PwC Mentoring programme, developed in partnership with our key sponsor PwC, provides an opportunity for PwC’s female directors to be mentored by members of the EWoB member associations. The opening event for this mentoring programme was held in September 2015 and the closing event took place on 30th June 2016. The next year-long programme will be launched in Berlin on 30th November (date to be confirmed).
Our annual event – Berlin
This year’s annual event was held on 7th July, in Berlin, and was organised in partnership with our German member FidAR. The theme for this year’s event was Women on Board – Boarding in Europe. Launching our new study, EWoB Co-Chair Cécile Coune presented the European dimension, and spoke about the EWoB network project, which will come to a close in the Autumn. Turid Solvang, EWoB vice Co-Chair, presented results of EWoB studies and gave her view on the Norwegian model. Approximately 350 participants attended the event, which was also webcast live. The conference was held in the presence of Manuela Schwesig, Bundesministerin für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) who gave the keynote speech.
News from our members
In June 2016, AFECA published its study on female representation on boards and committees of companies quoted in the Euronext and Alternext Paris stock exchanges (approximately 600 companies). More information can be found here.
Following the launch of the Charter for professional equality through the valorisation of human capital, AFECA has published a guide to best practices which will be accessible from 29th September via a collaborative platform on the AFECA website here.
AFECA is currently working on benchmarking the status of women in the accounting profession at European level, with participation of 24 professional institutions in 22 countries. This work is being carried out with support of the Federation of European Accountants.
AFECA will be presenting the results of both the best practices guide and the benchmarking results at an upcoming meeting to be held within the context of the 71st Congrès de l’Ordre des experts-comptables which will take place in Brussels, Belgium, from 28 to 30 September 2016. Both the best practices guide and the benchmarking results will be available in English.
* EWoB Members: should you have any news that you would like us to include in our next newsletter (to be published on the 29 September), please send an email to email@example.com by c.o.b. on 6 September.
Save the Date
On 25th October 2016, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. we will be hosting an event in Brussels, Belgium. On that occasion, we will present the results of the EWoB Network Project (co-funded by the EU) and we will launch the X-BBRW Network. The launch event will be followed by a cocktail reception. Registrations for the event will open in early October.
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Thank you to the Progress Programme of the European Union which co-funds the EWoB Network Project.
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Disclaimer: This newsletter has been produced with the financial support of the Progress Programme of the European Union. The contents of this newsletter are the sole responsibility of European Women on Boards asbl and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.