EU waters down gender quota plans after business opposition

Ben Southwood
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THE EUROPEAN Union yesterday significantly softened its plans to force more equal representation on non-executive boards.

This came after the plans to force strict 40 per cent quotas were met with fierce opposition from firms, womens’ groups and member states including the UK.

The new plans will only require member states to impose sanctions on firms who fail to favour equally qualified female candidates for board positions, according to sources in the European Commission (EC).

Culture secretary Maria Miller, a long-time opponent of rigid quotas last night explained British opposition to the original plans.

“The way to [achieve equality] is not through special treatment or regulation like the EC’s quotas idea, which patronises women – it is about removing the barriers to achieving their goals,” she said.