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Women still find the road to success blocked in the business world. And attitudes differ widely across Europe. In Malta, just 3% of board members are women, 18% in the UK, while in Finland, it’s 27%.

A new proposal aims for a 40% female presence on the non-executive boards of all EU publicly-listed companies.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights:
“It is a selection on the basis of competence. It is not a woman because she is a woman but a woman because she is good, a good professional that knows how to do her job.”

The proposed measures would only affect stock exchange-listed EU companies. Small and medium-sized enterprises and non-listed companies would remain untouched under the terms. Up to 5,000 companies across the EU could be affected. Many are convinced it would be a good start.

Edite Estrela, Portuguese socialist MEP:
“The proposal could be more ambitious, it could go further. But it’s a first step towards balancing the gender representation in the boardrooms of stock exchange-listed companies. And I agree that small and medium-sized enterprises should be exempt, because it’s not easy for this sector to accommodate that sort of gender representation.”

Some countries like France are pushing for a bigger female presence.

But others, including the UK and Germany are against forced quotas for women on corporate boards.

That glass ceiling may be chipped, but it’s far from broken.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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