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HoL committee advises government to oppose EU gender quotas


A House of Lords (HoL) committee has urged the government to oppose European Union plans to introduce a 40% quota of women on boards by 2020.

The HoL EU Sub-Committee on Employment held an inquiry into the EU proposal and has advised the government to stick to its self-regulatory approach, which has seen female representation on FTSE 100 boards rise to 20.7% this year.

The committee said the EU approach is “misguided”, and that more efforts should be put into ensuring a supply of women from lower down the organisation and through into senior management roles.

Committee chairman, Baroness O’Cathain, said: “Returning to the issue of women on boards after our original 2012 report, we can see that the UK and other member states are making encouraging progress in addressing the number of women on boards, albeit still too low.

“However, we still feel that our original conclusions from that report still hold good – namely that quotas fail to address the underlying cause of gender inequality, and that member states need to foster a sustainable change at the heart of business instead of resorting to quotas.

“In particular, we believe that a stronger flow of women into, and up, the company ranks, would get us to where we want to be.”