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Gov’t nods to women’s higher share in supervisory boards

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Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) – The Czech government supported on Wednesday the European directive to make big firms have a more equal representation of women on their supervisory boards, PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats CSSD) has said on Twitter.

The vote on the directive, which the Czech EU Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, Vera Jourova, has prepared, was not unanimous.

“The quotas for women have made it through the government, nevertheless, I have been against them since the beginning as a matter of principle, which I have also expressed by my vote,” said Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova (for ANO), who replaced Jourova at the ministry´s helm.

Jourova presented the draft during her visit to Prague in November.

Unlike the original proposal for at least 40 percent of women on the boards, the new directive is not pushing for gender quotas in the firms´ management any more.

Thanks to this change, Jourova succeeded in persuading Deputy PM and Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO chairman), who had rejected the quotas by then, to support it. The directive was not approved by the government due to Babis´ disagreement first.

The proposal for the introduction of gender quotas for the firms´ boards was pushed through in the EC by Jourova´s predecessor Viviane Reding.

Originally, both genders should make up at least 40 percent each on the supervisory and managing boards of the listed big firms. The measure should apply to some 5,000 firms in the whole EU, including six in the Czech Republic: the CEZ state-controlled power utility, the Telefonika telecommunication company, the Unipetrol oil distributing company, the Komercni banka bank, the Pivovar Lobkowicz brewery and the Philip Morris tobacco products maker.

The new directive does not set a fixed representation of men and women on supervisory boards, but it only urges the firms to take a just representation of both genders into consideration if two applicants of the same qualification apply for a post on the board. It other words, they should prefer a women if there is a too high share of men in it.

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