djb: Towards Gender-Balanced Leadership in Europe
Today at the 15th European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) Congress, a press conference announced the official launch of a series of visits to Annual General Meetings (AGMs) across 12 member states of the EU in support of the EU funded project: EWSDGE. The project demands gender equality across Europe in the representation of women on company boards and leading company positions.
The strategy to promote the gender-balanced leadership using the shareholder’s right to information on company–related matters has proven to be very effective. In the first half of 2015 approximately 100 European companies will be asked for detailed information about gender representation in top positions in their company through a questionnaire and questions being asked at AGMs.
“For us it is important to better manage the talent pipeline so that women do not end up in support functions but also get promoted at all management levels.” said Prof. Jackie Jones (University of the West of England, Bristol [UWE], President of EWLA and EWSDGE national coordinator of UK and Ireland). “It is true even today that the percentage of women on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies registered in the EU-28 Member States on average only stands at 20.2%, or in other words the decision-making bodies of European companies are still dominated by men – around 80% in fact”.
Nathalie Leroy as the press conference organizer and National coordinator for France underlined: “Together we are many active and committed European women lawyers in 12 Member States. As a member of Association française des femmes juristes (AFFJ) and Board Member of EWLA, I am very happy to be a part of the biggest ever campaign of European women shareholders demanding gender equality at AGMs”.
On January 27, 2015, Ramona Pisal, President of German Women Lawyers Association (djb), attended the first AGM for Germany – Siemens AG. She commented: “Although Siemens AG is a pioneer among listed companies with female members on Supervisory and Executive Boards, there is still a lot to be done. Companies need to consider women at all stages of their careers from recruitment through all further career steps in the same way they complement the careers of men”.
The project results will be published in a study in February 2016. The project focus will be on possible European and national legislative proposals in order to improve women’s participation in decision-making positions.