France Proposes To Mandate 40% Of BOD Seats to Women

40 percent french women boards of directorsRedTracker| We’ve written lots about French women — supported by their government — pulling out in front of American women in almost every gender-equality measure. The French came from behind a few years ago and are now blowing by American women.

They lag only in measures around profesional employment.

The Economist writes that now French companies are getting serious about putting women in the boardroom. French captains of industry aren’t thrilled, insisting that women must have the 30 years of experience necessary to be qualified to sit on BODs.

Xavier Fontanet, chief executive of Essilor, an eyewear firm, has quoted Charles de Gaulle as saying, “One may not command without having obeyed.”

 … If the bill moves through parliament, listed companies must have 40% of their board seats allocated to women by 2016. Nonetheless, the government is determined to make France the second country with a compulsory quota for women in the boardroom. (Norway was the first.) At the start of the year women occupied just 11% of the total of around 580 board seats at France’s biggest 40 firms. Now bosses will have to find as many as 170 new female directors in six years, according to OFG Research. “We are looking for women to fill every seat vacated by a man,” says Diane Segalen, vice-chairman of CTPartners, a headhunting firm in Paris.

Opponents argue that many appointments will be ‘cosmetic’ because the women are unqualified. Successful women are in very high demand for the new directorships. Read on at The Economist