Portugal Has Europe’s Fewest Women on Boards: Chart of the Day

Portugal has the lowest proportion of female board members of any European country while some nations have introduced legislation to spur companies to add women at the highest level of management.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how just 5 percent of board members of the nation’s Stoxx Europe 600 Index companies in 2013 were women, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. Greece followed with 6.7 percent and Italy with 10.5 percent. Norway has the highest proportion of women after introducing a 40 percent quota in 2003, followed by Finland and France, which also have legislation in place.

“It looks so anachronistic in the modern world to have so few women on boards,” Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club, named after its target for female representation on FTSE 100 Index company boards by the end of 2015, said by phone in London. “One of the big problems for economic growth is too few women in the labor force and those who are not fulfilling their full potential, so I wonder if that’s part and parcel of the problems of engineering growth in some of these countries.”

Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands also have quotas for women on boards. Morrissey says legislating quotas is problematic because it focuses attention at board level while potentially neglecting the number of women managers at other levels of the companies.

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