Marina Yannakoudakis MEP has spoken out today against EU proposals to introduce compulsory quotas for women in the boardroom.

Marina, who is Conservative spokesman for Women’s Rights and Gender equality in the European Parliament, dismissed Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s plans for mandatory quotas for women in the boardroom as patronising.

Marina said: “We need more women on corporate boards as we also need to achieve a better gender balance at all management levels. Nevertheless I do not believe that quotas are the answer.”

“We should encourage sustainable and meaningful change to the way women are represented at a senior level in companies, but we should do so through voluntary targets rather than mandatory minimums.”

“In the UK 100 women were appointed to FTSE-100 and FTSE-250 boards last year and FTSE-100 boards currently have 15.2% female representation. I agree that there is still a long way to go, but these women were selected because they were the best people for the job. Had they made it to the top by virtue of quotas it would have been nothing short of patronising.”
“We have to persuade more company chairmen to appoint women to their boards as well as providing support to businesses which wish to improve diversity. Quotas are intimidation not motivation. After Oslo imposed quotas Norwegian boards witnessed a rise in female ‘trophy directors’; mere figureheads who took on multiple boardroom jobs just to fill the quotas. Companies need to do more, but not under threat of sanctions from Brussels.”