While boards have taken into account the importance of diversity, much remains to be done at the level of executive leadership, reveals a European Gender Diversity Barometer published by Ethics & Boards and ecoDa.
On this Women's Day, it is clear that most European listed companies have understood the advantage of having a diverse board. In 2023, 80.7 per cent of Stoxx Europe 600 have at least 33.3 per cent women on their boards as required by the directive. More than half even have a percentage higher than 40 per cent.
By contrast, the number of women chairing a listed company, remain disappointingly low with a European average of 9.3 per cent. Italy stands out with 30 per cent of listed companies being chaired by a woman. United Kingdom, Portugal, and Norway have better results than the European average. Luxembourg is in last place with a total absence of female presidents.
The percentage of women with executive positions in companies has been gradually increasing during the last five years. Still, the results remain weak with a European average of only 24.3 per cent of top executives being women. The countries with the top performance when it comes to the representation of women in executive leadership are countries that closely match the results for diversity on boards. Those countries are Norway, Sweden, Finland, France and the United Kingdom.
However, the European average of executive leadership teams completely lacking women is still high: 18 per cent. More than half of listed companies in Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal lack women on their executive team.
In addition, the European average of female CEOs remains very low with only 7.7 per cent in 2023. Again, Norway has the best result with 16 per cent.
“The presence of women in the management bodies of the company should no longer be a subject of discussion in 2023. Diversity and inclusion more generally must be an integrated concern for all our companies”, highlighted Leena Linnainmaa, ecoDa’s Chair.
“If companies have broken the glass ceiling of the boards of listed companies, attention should now be paid more specifically to the leading positions at the executive level” added Floriane Saint Pierre, Founder and President of Ethics & Boards.