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Few women on EU boards

Women occupy less than one quarter (23.2%) of board seats in the UK, fractionally lower than the European average (25%), according to research by the European Women on Boards network.

Other below-average countries include Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. More than one fifth of companies in Switzerland don’t have a single woman on their boards, with the Netherlands and Germany particularly poor performers.

The best place to be a female business executive in Europe is Norway, where an average of 38.7% of board members are women (just shy of its statutory target of 40%). Sweden (34.6%), Finland (31.6%) and France (34.4%) represent the only other countries where women make up more than 30% of board members.

By sector, telecommunications (27.1%) and consumer goods (26%) lead the pack, with materials (23.3%) and energy (22.4%) lagging at the bottom. While still well short of parity, women’s presence in corporate boardrooms is slowly increasing. The current average of 25% for Europe marks a rise on the 2011 figure of 13.9%. The results are based on the STOXX 600, which comprises leading companies based in 17 European countries.

European Women on Boards

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