By Daniel Hunter

Today, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of The European Commission is scheduled to hold a press conference in Strasbourg about plans for mandatory quotas for women in the boardroom. The outcome of the press conference is likely to be controversial as nine national governments have sent letters to the European Commission to re-think the quotas.

Vice-President Reding wants businesses to guarantee that at least 40% of board members will be women by 2020. Currently, women represent just 13.5% of company boards.

Liz Field, CEO of Financial Skills Partnership said, “Boardroom diversity can bring any business vast benefits. However, just fulfilling quotas doesn’t address the core issues that prevent women from reaching top positions.

“There is a concerted effort in the finance industry to introduce diversity in the boardroom, nonetheless more emphasis should be placed on sustaining the momentum if we are to reach the 40% mark which the commission wants. More needs to be done to craft a culture where talent is nurtured, otherwise when this current generation of females retire there will be a gap in the market.”

Liz adds, “Plans need to be implemented as soon as possible to insure that companies are not forced to put women on boards but appoint them because they have cultivated their talent. Long term plans of tailor-made development programmes, mentoring schemes and female business networks are good steps towards fostering a good diversity attitude in the workplace.”

Financial Skills Partnership has a training programme called Through the Glass Ceiling aimed at developing leadership skills among women in senior management positions. The programme objectives are to empower women in areas such as Confidence & Credibility, Influencing Others, Team Work, and Powerful Presentation Skills, all skills needed to support women to develop their careers and progress to the boardroom.

Liz concluded, “Our aim is to ensure all women in senior positions have the correct tools to make the most of their career potential. Through the Glass Ceiling enables women to learn techniques that will help them gain experience and confidence to excel in the workplace.”

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