It is International women’s day this Thursday (March 8th, 2012) but the glass ceiling for women in Europe’s top jobs is as big as ever. The EU says the gender imbalance is so bad, it is now thinking about imposing quotas. Last year, the European justice chief Viviane Reding called on firms to do more, but with self-regulation failing, she is now talking tough.
‘‘Having quotas is something that is strong and symbolic. It’s a wham! Sometimes you need that, especially when we have women who have the capacity to be in the boardroom, highly qualified women who have a lot of management experience, an excellent education, but basically find themselves hitting a brick wall,’‘ she said.
Currently just one in seven board members in Europe’s top firms is a woman. That equals to just under 14 percent. The figure for those women chairing major companies is even worse – at 3.2 percent.
Ingrid De Latte is part of the tiny few. She’s in charge of Belgian based communications company , NextiraOne Benelux, which is also mostly made up of men – around 85 percent. She supports women quotas.
“ At a certain moment in time, women become a mum and we all want to become super mums of course, and that feeling is difficult to combine with the start of a good professional career. One should help young women to combine both,” De Latte said.
The EU Commission has launched a three month public consultation to see how it can address the issue.