Dr Miriam Marra appears on ESG Insider podcast on gender diversity on boards
Dr Miriam Marra, Associate Professor of Finance at the ICMA Centre, recently appeared on the ESG Insider podcast to talk about gender diversity on corporate boards.
The podcast, hosted by S&P Global, explores environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues within company strategy, including gender parity among board members.
Research carried out by the European Institute for Gender Equality found that while women account for more than 60 per cent of graduates in the EU, they represent less than a third of board members, and only eight per cent of board chairs being women. This has led to a new directive being approved by the Council of the EU designed to close the gender gap.
Dr Marra said: "The so-called Women on Boards Directive aims to introduce transparent recruitment procedures in companies so that at least 40 per cent of non-executive directors, or 33 per cent of all directors, will be occupied by an under-represented gender, which in our case is women. Companies have to comply by the end of June 2026.
"The idea here is that in cases where candidates are equally qualified for a certain post as directors, the priority should be given to the candidate from the underrepresented gender.
"What I'd like to stress is the point of the 33 per cent across all directors that are needed to be appointed from the underrepresented gender, because for me it says let's not just fill boards with women non-executives, but also let's try to bring women into top decision-making positions.
"Members states can also apply penalties to companies who fail to comply, there could be fines or annulments of the appointment of directors. They also have a duty to publish information on companies that are reaching the targets, and this generally serves as a peer-pressure to compliment enforcement of the directive.
"However, this provision will be more effective in countries within the EU where the target of gender equality in corporate leadership is actually shared and is felt important."