Following on from last weeks story highlighting that gender inequality is still rife in boardrooms, legal firm Everhsed has warned that The European Union could introduce Europe-wide legislation, introducing quotas for female membership of boards of director.

Business minister, Lord Davies is not particularly in favour of this measures and has been meeting with city recruiters, female entrepreneurs, shareholders and FTSE chairmen, as he considers alternative measures to bolster the number of women in the boardroom without resorting to formal quotas.

Audrey Williams, partner and head of discrimination law at international law firm Eversheds, comments:

“Although fixed quotas have been mooted in the past, they would require legislative change and Lord Davies’ recent comments would suggest that this is likely to be considered a step too far.

‘’Nevertheless, quotas could still be brought in by the EU at some point. This summer, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Commissioner, Viviane Reding, warned companies that if they do not improve the gender balance on their boards, Europe-wide legislation may be introduced to force the pace of change, possibly using new powers under the Lisbon Treaty to impose gender quotas.

”Even if Lord Davies stops short of imposing quotas in the UK, businesses still need to take a close look at their talent development and retention programmes to ensure they are doing enough now to nurture the careers of those women who could be the directors of the future.”