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EU Eyes Quotas for Women

Georges Gobet / AFP-Getty Images

EU commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding gestures as she gives a press conference on March 5, 2012 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels.

The European Union is considering legislating mandatory quotas for the number of women on corporate boards, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding warned businesses Monday after European firms failed to back a voluntary pledge. Only 24 firms signed the pact to appoint more women, and Reding launched a public consultation aimed at addressing the issue. Just one in seven board members—13.7 percent—at top European firms are female, just a slight improvement over the 11.8 percent in 2010. Reding said it would take 40 years for women to hold 40 percent of board positions at the current rate. Several EU states, like Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, have already adopted gender quotas for companies.