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  • 1. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceINTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ONGENDER PARITY AND WOMEN INLEASDERSHIP POSITIONSWARSAW – APRIL 10, 2013The experience of FranceBy Valérie Tandeau de MarsacProfessor at EDHEC
  • 2. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of France A few words about the speaker’s experience The French paradox : Rights of Man or Human Rights ? The long road to parity Politics : comply or pay ? Board rooms : an encouraging improvement2
  • 3. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceA few words about the speaker’s experience French lawyer specialized in Family Business Law Co-author of a study commissioned by theEuropean Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairsto compare best practices in the field ofrelationship between company supervisory bodiesand management and formulate recommendations Founder and President of the non profit associationvoxfemina, created to raise the media visibility ofwomen who have responsible jobs, in public life ingeneral and business and the economy inparticular. 3
  • 4. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of France4
  • 5. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceOur findings5Benchmark on European Legislation relating to Parity (Hard Law)Country Dates Legislation enforcedFrance 2011 The Law requires that the proportion of women and men directorsshould reach 20% by 2014 up to 40% by 2017.Belgium 2011At least one third of board members of publicly-listed companiesand state-owned companies needs to be of the under-representedsexThere is a specific sanction consisting in suspension of anyadvantage, financial or otherwise, attached to the position ofdirector for all the members of the board as long as the compositionof a board does not comply with the quota.Austria 2011The Austrian Council of Ministers implemented a quota forsupervisory boards which applies to companies in which the state’sownership equals or exceeds 50 percent. Companies meeting thiscriterion are required to have 25 percent of their boardsrepresented by women by 2013, increasing to 35 percent by 2018.Spain2007The Spanish Organic Law on gender equality encourages largecompanies to alter the membership of their boards gradually untileach sex makes up at least 40 % by 2015.
  • 6. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceBenchmark on European Gouvernance Code (Soft Law)6Country Dates Code of GouvernanceGermany2010 Promotes a greater femal representation on supervisory andmanagement board. Failure to adhere to these is subject to the‘comply or explain’ rule. Thus, the supervisory body must seek toachieve an adequate level of female representation.UnitedKingdom2012A report by Lord Davies, dated 24 February 2011, entitled ‘Women onBoards’ gives various recommendations on the subject of womengaining access to these bodies. In 2012, the government had notimplemented any of these recommendations and did not plan tolegislate in this area, but two revisions had been published requiringcompanies to report annually on their boardroom diversity policy andto include gender diversity in the evaluation of board effectiveness.Denmark 2011Denmark has revised the recommendations in its corporategovernance code to stress the need to increase the number ofwomen in positions of responsibility and set new targets. Thiscorporate governance code only applies to listed companies.Romania 2010Romania has not adopted any special regulations on equality inbodies exercising supervisory duties.There are only legal provisions on equality in general, which arerather limited in the area of discrimination against womenOur findings
  • 7. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceOur recommendations7
  • 8. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceWhy is voxfemina interesting in the perpective of quotas Problem : competent women exist but are not visible The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) maps therepresentation of women and men in news media worldwide GMMP Report 2010 shows that 46% of stories reinforce genderstereotypes, almost eight times higher than stories thatchallenge such stereotypes (6%) and that only 19% ofspokespersons and 20% of experts are women The United Nations recommended as early as 1995 (BeijingPlatform for Action) to :– « increase the participation and access of women toexpression and decision making in and through the mediaand new technologies of communication » and– to « promote a balanced and non-stereotyped protrayal ofwomen in the media »
  • 9. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of France To address the issues highlighted by the United Nations,voxfemina was created in 2010 as a non-profit organization. voxfemina promotes the visibility in the media of high-levelprofessional women (www.voxfemina.asso.fr):– by creating an on-line directory of female experts who areprofessional authorities in the business world– and lobbying towards the media and journalists– to increase the presence of women in the media as sourcesin the news– thus promoting alternate role models rather than the usualstereotypes– and contribute to a better balanced business worldWhy is voxfemina interesting in the perpective of quotas
  • 10. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceAnother interesting initiative of female lawyers Association FEMMES AAA+’s mission is to promote womenlawyers and/or legal experts, as directors on boards of listed orunlisted companies, and communicate on the subject of womenlawyers and/or legal experts as directors on boards of listed orunlisted companies FEMMES AAA+ aims at:– contributing to the successful balancing of boards with adesire to contribute to the overall business performance– giving women the means to succeed through training,certification, mentoring by senior administrators …10
  • 11. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceThe French paradox The principles of French revolution tends to prevailover the necessity to eliminate all forms ofdiscrimination against Women (although the CEDAWconvention was ratified by France in 1979)11
  • 12. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceThe French paradox In contrast to the Universal Declaration of HumanRights, sex is not taken into account as a factor ofdiscrimination in the French Constitution12
  • 13. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceThe long road to parity : The 1999 Constitutional Reform In 1982, the Constitutional Council censured a law whichprovided a quota 25% of women in legislative fonctions Successive governments, fearing a new censure, gave up onquotas until 1997, when Prime Minister Lionel Jospincommited himself to reform the Constitution to register theparity in it The Constitutional law of July 8th 1999 changed Article 3 ofthe Constitution to provide that « the law supports theequal access of the women and the men to the electoralmandates and elective functions » Article 4 was amended to provide that political parties shallcontribute to the implementation of this principle This reform enabled the promulgation of the law providingfor equal access of the women and the men to the electoralmandates and elective functions on June 6, 2000. 13
  • 14. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceThe long road to parity: the 2006 failure In 2006, a bill was submitted to the French National Assemblyand Senate. It aimed at removing he wages differencesbetween men and women The law also provided a system of quota which should makeeasier the access of women to responsibilities By a decision of March 16th 2006, the Constitutional Councildeclared that this article was against the Constitution Basis for this decision was that nominations should be basedon competence, experience and skills, not gender (or elseit’s a threat to equality)14
  • 15. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of France In 2008, a Constitutionnal reform is considered to modernize theVth Republic institutions. To increase the political parity but also the professional equality, afew changes have been made: A paragraph is added to the Article 1 which provide now that theLaw « promote equal access by women and men to elective officesand posts as well as to professional and social positions ». The last paragraph of Article 3 had been deleted and the secondparagraph of Article 4 had been replaced by the following: « thePolitical parties shall contribute to the implementation of theprinciple set out in the second paragraph of article 1 as providedfor by statute. »15The long road to parity: the 2008 Constitutionnal reform
  • 16. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceChronological milestones of the legislative evolutionfor the Political Parity1982 The constitutional Council censures a law which provided a quota of 25% of women in the lists of the localelections considering that the principle of equality in front of the law in the article first “is opposed to anydivision by categories of the voters and eligible”.1999 
 The revision of June 23rd 1999 relating to the equality between the men and the women introduced in Article 3 ofthe Constitution the principle according to which the law “supports the equal access of the women and the mento the electoral mandates and elective functions. “ Article 4 of the Constitution specifies that the political parties“contribute to the implementation of this principle set out in Article 3".2000 June 6th 2000 the first law on the parity is promulgated. It constrained the political parties to introduce to anequal number men and women and envisages a reserve on the budget of the parties which will not respect theprinciple of parity during the candidate nomination for the legislative elections.2007 The law of January 31st 2007 requires a strict alternation women/men in the composition of the municipalelectoral rolls) and introduces an obligation of parity into the regional and municipal executives. It increases thefinancial penalty incurred by the parties which do not respect the parity of the nominations and constrained thecandidate with the cantonal elections to run nearby a deputy of the other sex.2008Law of February 26th 2008 facilitates the equal access of the women and the men to the mandate of GeneralCouncillor.2008 Constitutional law of July 23rd 2008 is modernizing the institutions of Ve Republique towards the parity in theprofessional and social responsibilities. The article 1st of the Constitution is finalized by a subparagraph thuswritten: “Statutes shall promote equal access by women and men to elective offices and posts as well as toprofessional and social positions. »16
  • 17. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceThe long road to parity: the 2011 law Finally, the current quota legislation was adopted inFrance in January 2011:– all companies >50 M € (turnover or net worth)– and >500 employees– minimum 20% of each sex no later than 2014– minimum 40% of each sex in 2017– any wrongful nomination will be null and void The law does not apply to state-owned companies,not to the public administration17
  • 18. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FrancePolitics : comply or pay ?Total of deduction on the grant of main political party for Parity in 201118Partis etgroupementspolitiques ayantprésenté descandidats dans aumoins 50circonscriptionsNombre total decandidats% de candidates Retenue sur ladotation au titre dela paritéDotation TotalUnion pour unmouvementpopulaire (UMP)588 26% 3 922 512,8 30 136 113,9Partis Socialiste (PS) 531 45,2 % 485 822,90 22 881 372,8Modem 561 36,2% 420 538 3 563 689,5Les Verts 580 50,3% 0 1 959 901,7Front National (FN) 558 49,3% 0 1 744 403,2Total 2 818 41,2% 4 828 873,7 60 285 481,1Source: Observatoire de la Parité
  • 19. Conference on female quota in leadership positionsThe experience of FranceParity in the board rooms : encouraging results19Source: Gouvernance & Structure, G & S, Monsieur Guy Le Péchon: guy.le-pechon@m4x.org