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Women are not afraid of competing on their own merit to access board positions!

Yesterday, on 12 December 2012, I attended the launch of the “Global Board Ready Initiative” database by Commissioner Reding and the European Business Schools/Women on Boards Initiative in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This online database provides a list of 8000 women who are well qualified and ready to become immediately board member. The criteria to be on the list are pretty strict and have been defined by publicly listed companies themselves.

I strongly welcome this initiative, which is completely in line with what PES Women put forward previously when pushing for a Directive on women on boards. Indeed, as I have already explained several times, implementing quota is the quickest and most efficient way to get more women in economic decision-making. This said, a quota is not a magical tool and should go hand in hand with additional measures, especially in order to help the companies to reach the targets set in the binding legislation.

Therefore, creating national, European and even world databases of high-level women ready to enter boards is very useful for helping companies to identify available and competent women to recruit. Being the first to implement binding legislation for women on boards in 2005, Norway immediately acknowledged the interest of these databases and thus created three online databases to target and employ new high-level women in Norwegian companies’ boards. This initiative undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Norwegian law.

As proven by this database, women, who represent 60% of graduates from University in Europe at the moment, are successfully competing with their male counterparts on the basis of competences, skills and talents. This database will contribute to increase the transparency of the recruitment procedure for board members and hopefully put an end to the current system of “friendly arrangements”.

Even if a list of 8000 names is already remarkable, it should nevertheless grow in order to broaden even more the pool of women candidates and to prevent a few women from cumulating many board positions. Indeed, this database must not only benefit women already at the top level We should be inclusive and ensure that all women, especially women with a migrant background, have the same opportunities to study in a business school, to set up their own business, to overcome the glass-ceiling and therefore access high-level jobs.

Our role, as Socialist and Feminist politicians, is to advance the situation of all women, not only of a privileged few who will have defacto greater chances to access economic decision-making. We care about all women in Europe and not only fight for gender equality at certain levels of the society but also for equality among women!

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