European Women on Boards launches the report of a qualitative study on experiences and best practices in gender diversity in European Boards. The study report will be launched at the EWoB annual event in Berlin, which is co-organised with FidAR *
Brussels, 7th July 2016 – European Women on Boards (EWoB) has today published a major new report which completes its wide-ranging two-part investigation into the gender diversity of European boardrooms.
In the 42-page report published today, undertaken in association with ISS, titled Gender Diversity on European Boards: Realising Europe’s Potential: Experiences and Best Practices, 20 of Europe’s most important business and governance leaders provide wide-ranging qualitative perspectives and practical examples of successful gender diversity practices at board and senior executive level to foster awareness and inspire further innovation.
The role of women in leadership positions is of crucial importance to the future of Europe’s economy. The presence of women on the boards of the largest 600 European listed companies has increased from an average of 13.9% to 25% in five years, which shows promising progress has been made. EWoB continues to promote gender equality and diversity in the boardroom, and as underlined by the two reports it has published this year, there is clearly a need to enhance at European level the efficiency of the “market” for board mandates, with corresponding added value in terms of better allocation of talents.
Launching the publication, Marie-Ange Andrieux, Co-Chairwoman of EWoB, Co-Chair of AFECA and co-leader of the study, noted “the originality of this report is to bring together best practices from both companies and investors that will be useful in achieving a more gender-balanced board to face the challenges identified in EWoB’s first report Realising Europe’s Potential: Progress and Challenges. The pragmatic vision which emerges from this report aims to improve long term performance and innovation. It involves embracing a human strategy and culture shift to reach a more sustainable and inclusive growth path”.
Ms Andrieux added “A very important message has been conveyed to us by business leaders concerning the need to improve the diversity of the executive pipeline by developing and retaining senior female talent. Female networks like EWoB can also play a valuable role by enhancing the supply of competent female talent in line with board needs. European growth needs access to a wider talent pool in order to realise its potential in terms of innovation and competitiveness”.
Dr Roger Barker, EWoB Director, member of the IoD UK and co-leader of the study, added “Gender Diversity on European Boards: Realising Europe’s Potential: Experiences and Best Practices highlights the widely-accepted fact that a well-diversified board adds value to the company and encourages a higher standard of professionalism”. “Looking to the future” Dr Barker added, “it is important that companies understand that diversity enables boards to approach issues from a broader range of perspectives enabling thorough decision-making, less group-think and more effective supervision”.
At the report’s launch, Ms Cécile Coune, EWoB Co-Chairwoman and CEO of Aviabel, highlighted “the breadth and depth of the report and the corporate experiences and best practices that emerged from the discussions with business leaders”. Furthermore, Ms Coune emphasised “the continued relevance and importance of EWoB’s work, especially in continuing to underscore the importance of setting targets for gender diversity in boards, training to avoid unconscious bias, support for flexible working and career breaks for both genders, mentoring programmes, using the online talent pool of board-ready-women, etc”.
This project was undertaken in collaboration with Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the leading provider of corporate governance, ESG data and analytics to investors, globally. Jean-Nicolas Caprasse, ISS’ Head of European Business said: “ISS is delighted to support EWoB’s studies with objective analysis and unparalleled current and historical data coverage for European companies.”
For further information and interview requests please contact:
Ms Karima Zahi, EWoB Programme Director
+ 32 485 39 22 71
Ms Margaret Walker (MWCAM Ltd), EWoB Communications Consultant
+ 44 7747 121 17
About the EWoB reports:
Gender Diversity on European Boards: Realising Europe’s Potential: Experiences and Best Practices is a European Women on Boards quantitative study carried out in partnership with ISS. This report is the second qualitative part of EWoB’s wide-ranging investigation into the gender diversity of European boardrooms. The 42-page report gathers insights of 20 of Europe’s most important business and governance leaders. The report can be viewed here
‘Realizing Europe’s Potential: Progress and Challenges’. A timely quantitative study, published in by EWoB in partnership with ISS, in April 2016. The report highlights trends occurring at the company, country, and sector levels in respect of the involvement of women in European boardrooms. The study was co-financed by the PROGRESS programme of the European Union. The full report can be downloaded here
* The EWoB annual event has been organised with the financial support of the Progress Programme of the European Union. The contents of this event 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.