By Daniel Hunter

The European Commission has defended proposals for there to be at least 40% women non-executive directors on the boards of big listed companies by 2020.

Commission Vice President Viviane Reding said a target would be set instead to have women comprise at least 40% of the boards of publicly-traded European companies by 2020.

The plans need approval from the European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

“Businesses will be relieved that the Commission has listened to their concerns," Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said.

"These new proposals rightly focus on the need to improve boardroom diversity, while allowing firms to recruit the best candidates from the widest possible talent pool. MEPs should get behind this approach.

“Increasing the number of women in boardrooms is important for businesses, who know that gender diversity brings greater creativity, higher performance and better customer insight. That is why firms are already taking action to increase the flow of women to the top, such as targeting mentoring schemes at women and offering flexible working.”

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness