Written on 28 September 2011.
Brussels, 26 September 2011 - EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding today met with leaders of Europe's business schools to discuss how to improve the gender balance in company boardrooms by encouraging more young women to follow a career in business.
Under the initiative of Candace Johnson, a member of EDHEC's Board of Governors, the meeting was attended by Olivier Oger and EDHEC professor Monique Valcour, along with deans of European business schools and female business leaders.
Despite around 60% of university graduates being female, women still represent only 12% of board members in Europe's biggest listed companies and only 3% of board presidents. Business schools play a crucial role in equipping young women for a career in business and helping them to reach the top. They are helping women to prepare for professional careers through seminars, training programmes and providing networking opportunities. Their initiatives follow Vice-President Reding's call to companies to pledge to voluntarily increase the number of women on corporate boards to 30% by 2015 and to 40% by 2020 (MEMO/11/124).
Business schools help shape the minds of future leaders. It is here that young women and men get inspiration for their business careers, said Vice-President Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "We all have to make sure that our female talent considers this route in the first place. I am especially glad to see European business schools involved in this process. It reassures me that the education sector is strongly committed to the challenge of fighting the roots of inequality."
"This superb initiative of the European Commission is in total harmony with our goal of focusing on what is a major issue for Europe's business schools and businesses - namely, how should we remove the glass ceiling that blocks our female graduates from pursuing top-level international careers, despite their being as equally well-trained as their male counterparts, said EDHEC Dean Olivier Oger.
Today's meeting brings together deans of European business schools and female business leaders to discuss the role of women in European corporate governance. It is organised by EDHEC business school, the Global Telecom Women's Network (GTWN) and McKinsey & Company.