Only Four Percent of Cypriot Companies Have Women On Boards
Cyprus could be heading for mandatory quotas on women in company boards after a European Commission study showing that only four percent of firms on the island include women on their board of directors. This is compared to an EU average of 13.7 percent (or one in seven).
The only country with fewer women on company boards is Malta, at three percent.
"The lack of women in top jobs in the business world harms Europe's competitiveness and hampers economic growth...Personally, I am not a great fan of quotas. However, I like the results they bring," said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.
In 2010, Reding called for businesses to regulate themselves or else the EU may impose quotas. Even though there has been a slight improvement since her initial challenge, it would still take another 40 years for women to reach a 40 percent participation level, she said.
A public debate will be held until May 2012 to be followed by a decision on further action by the European Commission.
Gender balance in top positions has been shown to contribute to better business performance, improved competitiveness and economic gains. For example, a report by McKinsey found that gender-balanced companies have a 56% higher operating profit compared to male-only companies.
In another report, Ernst & Young looked at the 290 largest publicly-listed companies. They found that the earnings at companies with at least one woman on the board were significantly higher than in those that had no female board member.
The best EU countries for women to participate in board decisions are in Finland, where they make up 27% of boards in the largest Finnish companies and 26% in Latvia.
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