Parliament approves quotas for women on company boards

Nayla Hayek chairs the board of directors of the Swatch Group and is also CEO of Harry Winston. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The Swiss parliament has approved a government proposal calling for better representation of women at the top echelons of large publicly-traded companies.  

This content was published on June 19, 2019

On Wednesday, the Senate voted in favour of the proposal that was also narrowly approved by House of Representatives (by just one vote). The new regulation, which is part of a large-scale overhaul of Swiss corporate law. It requires companies to set aside at least 30% of positions in the boards of directors and 20% in the executive boards for women over the next five and ten years respectively.  A government minister recently said the proportions were stuck at 10% and 20%.  

Around 250 companies will be affected by the measure but there are no sanctions for non-compliance. The firms that fail to achieve the minimum targets will be required to provide a justification. 

Around half a million women took to the streets last Friday in Switzerland to demonstrate for equal treatment and conditions as their male counterparts. 

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