Sarkozy Wants More Women

0t8e43xu3jz3j43xFollowing Norway’s successful imposition of a minimum 40% women on corporate boards, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, centre-right party has mounted an attack on the male dominated bastion of the French corporate world.
A bill just submitted to the French parliament proposes all companies listed on the French stock exchange must have 50% women on their boards by 2015.The proposal will be debated in January 2010 and will need the approval of both houses of parliament to become law.

Many, not just in France, see quotas for women on corporate boards as a “necessary evil” if we are to gain the benefits of more women leading organizations. Advocates of gender parity in the boardroom would, of course, rather see women recruited on their merit. But the entrenched old boys networks make this unlikely to happen any time soon. Which is why those who have traditionally opposed the legislative route are grudgingly changing their stance.

President of the conservative French Institute of directors, Daniel Lebegue, said they had reluctantly decided that quotas were the only way of encouraging progress. Veronique Preaux-Cobti, a renowned French business woman, told Le Figaro that “after years of good will with no change, there is a real realization that things are not going to change on their own.”

It’s easy to be cynical about Sarkozy’s bold move. After appointing seven women to his 15-member cabinet in 2007 he has since replaced three of these women with men. And at the last election only 18% of MP’s in the lower house were women. Perhaps he should get his own house in order before proposing legislation that will radically impact the French corporate world.

I prefer to take a more positive, optimistic approach and I applaud Sarkozy and his party for confronting the French male corporate elite. Bon chance Nicolas!

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