Spanish Government Wants Minimum 40% of Companies’ Boards To Be Women

(Photo Credit: Elliott Brown/Flickr)
(Photo Credit: Elliott Brown/Flickr)

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El futuro es femenino.

Today, Spain’s government sent a proposed gender quota bill to the country’s cabinet, which will now head on to congress. The bill would mandate that companies as well as the cabinet ensure their boardrooms are 40% women. Incidentally, International Women’s Day is tomorrow.

Womanning Up

According to Bloomberg, Spain does relatively well when it comes to women at its top corporate levels, with many companies on the Ibex-35 (Spain’s version of the NASDAQ) already meeting the 40% threshold.

The government’s proposed law is tailored towards not only enforcing the 40% quota on every Ibex-35 company but also imposing it on smaller corners of Spain’s economy:

  • If it makes it through congress, the law would make the quota mandatory for all publicly-traded companies by July 2024.
  • After two years, the quota would become mandatory for all companies with over 250 employees and revenues of over €50 million.

“If women represent half of society then half of the political power and half of the economic power must belong to women,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced Saturday. While 40% isn’t quite what you’d mathematically call “half,” it’s a start.

Statistical Inference: Raw figures of women in boardrooms don’t necessarily tell you if a country’s business culture is feminist. A survey of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies in November found that although they occupied 40% of roles on board seats, 90% of those seats were non-executive positions, and only nine CEOs in the survey were women. “For real change to happen, women simply must be in the significant decision-making roles of CEO and chair,” Prof. Sue Vinnicombe of Cranfield School of Management, which contributed to the survey, told the Financial Times. So Sánchez had better keep a close eye on the job descriptions companies turn over.