Women on boards of directors

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Emmanuelle David, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, 15-04-2013. This report deals about women on boards of directors and especially about the impact of the European quotas policy in France.

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Women on boards of directors

  1. 1. Emmanuelle David Keywords: Analysis of public Universidad Autónoma de Madrid policies, Woman on boards of Análisis de Políticas Públicas, Grupo 3411 Contact: directors, Situation in France, Policy Network, quotas’ policy emmadavidsachet@gmail.com http://www.scoop.it/t/les-femmes-dans- les-conseils-d-administration-en-france 2013 http://fr.slideshare.net/emmadavidsachetWomen on boards of directorsOn November the 14th2012 has been accepted Viviane Reding’sproposition about the imposition of 40% of women in thecompanies ‘boards of directors before 2020. This is an exampleof the way a public actor can force private actors to apply a A report preparedfor:policy. We call this way of acting “policy network”.Supported by Cristina Muñoz-Reja‘s work about the policynetwork notion and its application with the quotas policy inEurope, this report will try to give a clear presentation aboutthe situation in France and about the answers that theEuropean policy could bring.
  2. 2. 1 Emmanuelle David Report about the situation of equality in the boards of directors of French companies and the effects of the European policy of quotasThe notion of policy network Working on public actors such as French government and European Commission and theirinteraction with private actors such as companies involves the development of a specific set of key ofanalyze. In that case, we need to call upon the notion of policy network. The term policy networkconnotes “a cluster of actors, each of which has an interest, or “stake” in a given…policy sector andthe capacity to help determine policy success or failure” (Peterson and Bomberg 1999: 8). Plus, inCristina Munoz-Reja’s work we can find the following definition: “The notion of policy networks hasbeen proposed to face the difficulties that the traditional analyses, based in the primordial action ofbureaucracy, experienced when they tried to explain the policies of distinct sector’s fields.” (Jordana1995). Considering this notion through the scope of public policies, it means that these last ones arethe fruit of the interaction of public and private actors and that the Administration is not anymorethe actor who dominates alone the origins of public policies. The European measure about quotas inthe boards of directors of companies matches with this policy especially because it’s the interventionof the public sector into the private area. However, problems in France about sex equality have beentaken in consideration by the government several times.Policy network and sex equality in France France occupies the 37th place in the global world ranking of women in the nationalparliament –right after Afghanistan. Moreover, in the State’spublic function even if women represent51,7% of the total number of employees, they occupy only 20,3% of the direction posts1. Talkingabout the companies, we realize suddenly that somehow women reached a better situation in theprivate sector than in public administration. Indeed, in 2008, 32,3% of chief executive and directorsof private companies are women with huge disparities such as 39,2% in France and 9,7% in Cyprus2.In 2011 there were 20,8% of women in the CAC 40’ boards of directors3. The aim of the Europeanmeasure is to reach the rate of 40%. In this field, France can be named as an example: in France,women represent 25,1% of the managers of the biggest French firms which appear in the top 200 of1 Source : Rapport annuel sur l’état de la fonction publique, 2009-2010 / Rapport 2011 de l’Association desadministrateurs territoriaux de France / Etude sur la parité entre les femmes et les hommes au sein de la policenationale réalisée en juillet 2011 par le Syndicat des commissaires de la police nationale2 Source : enquêtes sur les forces de travail, Eurostat, in Chiffres Clés 2010, l’égalité entre les femmes et leshommes, tab. 13, p.213 Source : Capitalcom,Bilan des AG 2011 Women’s on boards of directors: Policy Networks
  3. 3. 2 Emmanuelle Davidthe biggest firms in the world4. Therefore, it is one of the first countries in terms of equality in theboards of directors, thanks to firms such as Axa, Total and BNP Paribas.However, France is part of the 18 European countries in which has been adopted a quotas policy. Onthe 17th of January of 2011 has been promulgated the law “related to a balanced representation ofwomen and men within the boards of directors and the supervisory boards and to professionalequality”. This text plans the progressive instauration of quotas to go toward feminization of thedirectional instances of big companies. The actors which are concerned by this policy are:the boardsof directors and the supervisory boards (but not the executive committees) of the companies listedon the stock exchange and of the public companies. Concretely, the law includes two steps: firstly,three years after the promulgation of the law, the concerned instances will have to include at least20% of women. The boards of directors which do not count with any women at the moment of thelaw promulgation will have to designate one within the six next months. Secondly, six years after thelaw promulgation the rate of feminization of the directional instances will have to reach 40%.The lack of respect of these quotas will be followed by the invalidity of the nominations (except thoseof women). An amendment voted by the French National Assembly, which included also theinvalidity of the deliberations in the case of the lack of respect of the quotas has been suppressed bythe Senate.A mechanism of financial sanctions has also been planned, especially with the possibility of atemporary suspension of the “attendance fees” (remuneration for the participation in the boards ofdirectors).As we have seen, the feminization of the boards of directors is now legally required in France and ithas been the object of a debate in Europe. This is admittedly a demand of societal equity but it is alsoa factor of economic efficiency, because diversity is source of performance even if it is still achallenge. This idea has also been developed by Cristina Muños-Reja while talking about McKinsey &Company’s 2010 report untitled “Woman Matter”, which underlines to help the evolution of thesituation, that some public policies can be adopted in order to support the application of the quotasmeasure. For example, specific professional training, technical support, assumed visibility of womenwho are candidate for power positions especially in the social networks, and the commitment of thecompanies’ directors.Furthermore, there is an underlying trend which goes for the feminization of the boards of directors,particularly due to the pressure of ranking and of ethical pension funds: for example of the magazineFortune which published about the “100 companies where it is good to work” giving an importantpart to the question of the promotion of women in the pyramid of power, or the initiative of Catalystwhich rewards each year the companies who are innovates in the approach of Diversity. As we can4 Source : étude menée par le Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), publiée le vendredi 22 février2013 Women’s on boards of directors: Policy Networks
  4. 4. 3 Emmanuelle Davidsee, private actors are also part of this policy, which makes it really part of a “policy network”, that isto say involving private and public actors at the same level.Conclusion As we discussed in this report, and as Cristina Muñoz-Reja developed it, in the field of parity,the Administration is not anymore a sufficient actor to complete successfully public policies. Withoutcooperation between private and public actors, it is nowadays impossible to make advancements interms of equity. The research about parity in the boards of directors will be a real factor of efficiencyonly if this investigation calls to mind about the recruitment habits that it is time to make change.Additionally to the European and the French measures about the quotas of women in boards ofdirectors we have to consider that private actors have a role to play.To go further than the mere record of the absolute necessity to open the boards of directors towomen, we can notice that in a report from the French Business School “Essec”, the development ofthe presence on social networks is peculiarly emphasized. Indeed, they say that women are muchless present in social media than men, and that it is also a hindrance against the good developmentof a professional carrier.It is though important to put the emphasis on this new means of communication and to use them asmuch as possible as they can be a helpful tool for parity. Public actors as well as private companieshave to understand, thanks to investigations and to reports like this one that they have to worktogether and to use the Internet to develop policy networks and reach a better level of parity.BibliographyCristina Muñoz-Reja “Politica europea sobre cuotas de mujeres en los consejos de administración delas empresas: policy networks”, 2012 http://fr.slideshare.net/CristinaMunozRejaRuiz/informe-sobre-poltica-europea-de-cuotas-de-mujeres-en-los-consejos-de-administracin-de-las-empresas last access12th of April 2013French Observatory of parity/ Observatoire de la parité entre les femmes et les hommes, « Repèresstatistiques » http://www.observatoire-parite.gouv.fr/egalite-professionnelle/reperes-statistiques-31/ last access 30th of March of 2013Jordana Jacint « El análisis de los policy networks: ¿ Una nueva perspectiva sobre la relación entrepolíticas públicas y Estado?”, GAPP, 1995: 77-87McKinsey&Company “Woman Matter” 2010http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/organization/latest_thinking/women_matter last access4th of April 2013Viviane de Beaufort and Marie Khayat « Femmes dans les conseils d’administration en France,Quelques considérations sur leur intégration et leur visibilité » Research Center ESSEC Working Paper2012 http://www.essec.edu/faculty/showDeclFileRes.do?declId=10392&key=__workpaper__ lasaccess 30th of March 2013 Women’s on boards of directors: Policy Networks

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