The European Parliament announced today that it has formally adopted new legislation mandating gender balance rules for corporate boards, marking the last major step for the passage of the new requirements into law.

The new law is aimed at ensuring that gender balance is established in the corporate boards of large listed companies across the EU, and that board position appointments are transparent, and that candidates are assessed objectively.

According to a recent survey by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), while women account for approximately 60% of university graduates in the EU, they are significantly under-represented on corporate boards, accounting for only 31.5% of total board members and 8% of board chairs.

Under the new proposed law, listed companies will be required to have the underrepresented sex holding 40% of non-executive director positions or 33% of all director positions by mid-2026.

The new rules also rules will also require companies to report annually on the gender representation on their boards, as well as on the measures they have in place to reach the targets.

In a statement issued following the adoption of the law by the EU Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Vice-President Věra Jourová and Commissioner Helena Dalli said:

“This is a long-awaited moment, a moment to be celebrated as a breakthrough in gender equality.

“After ten years since its proposal by the European Commission, we will now have an EU law to break the glass ceiling of listed companies boards.

“There are plenty of women qualified for top jobs and with our new European law, we will make sure that they have a real chance to get them.”

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