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EU Legislators Pass Gender Balance Legislation for Corporate Boards

The European Parliament announced that it has officially accepted new legislation imposing gender balance criteria for company boards, marking the final significant step in the enactment of the new requirements.

The new rule is intended to ensure gender parity in the corporate boards of large publicly traded firms across the EU, as well as the transparency of board position appointments and the impartial evaluation of candidates.

According to a recent poll conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), although women make up about 60% of university graduates in the EU, they are considerably under-represented on corporate boards, comprising only 31.5% of total board members and 8% of board chairs.

By mid-2026, public businesses will be expected to have underrepresented sexes hold 40% of non-executive director posts or 33% of all director positions, per the new proposed law.

The new regulations would also compel corporations to report annually on the gender composition of their boards, as well as the steps they've taken to meet the targets.

In a statement made after the EU Parliament adopted the law, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Vice-President Vtzslav Jourová, and Commissioner Helena Dalli stated:

"This is a moment that has been a long time coming, and it should be embraced as a triumph in gender equality.

"After ten years after its introduction by the European Commission, we will finally have an EU regulation to remove the glass ceiling from the boards of publicly traded corporations.

There are several talented women for top jobs, and with our new European regulation, we will ensure that they have a genuine opportunity to obtain them.

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