Statutory target again for gender balance on company boards

The government intends to maintain the statutory target for the ratio of men to women on the executive and supervisory boards of large public and limited liability companies. The cabinet has agreed to a proposal on this by security and justice minister Ard van der Steur and education minister Jet Bussemaker.

The plan is based on the government’s Business Monitor 2012-2015, which shows that although the gender ratio on company boards has improved slightly since 2015, it still fails to do justice to the wealth of female talent available. The government attaches great importance to a balanced distribution of seats on company boards, and wants to actively boost the percentage of women to prevent so much talent going to waste. The statutory target applies to 4,900 companies.

A balanced distribution would mean that at least 30% of the seats are held by women and 30% by men. If this target is not met, an explanation must be given in the directors’ report. Under the new bill, the target ratio – which lapsed on 1 January 2016 – will be extended to 31 December 2019. There will be a review in the spring of 2017 to track progress, followed by an audit in 2019.

The intention to extend the statutory target for gender balance on company boards was announced in a letter that the education minister sent to parliament on 16 November 2015, which discussed the results of the Business Monitor 2012-2015, as presented by the Talent to the Top Monitoring Commission.

The cabinet has agreed to submit the bill to the Council of State for an advisory opinion. The bill and the advisory opinion will be published when they are presented to the House of Representatives.