In the corporate world there has always been the talk of a glass ceiling when it comes to the women occupying the senior positions. The imbalance between the male and female employees has been correcting itself over the years but the rate of change is too slow to have any significant impact on the numbers. A movement called the Women on the Board Pledge for Europe has been initiated to increase women’s board membership to 30% by 2015 and 40% by 2020. The latest to sign this pledge is LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
The French luxury conglomerate has a progressive record in promoting women to the upper ranks. Of all the executives in the group, 61% are women and more importantly 73% of 2010 promotions were given to women, according to the company. The European Commission is supporting this movement partly because of the aging population of Europe. The current status does not favor the women as only 12% of supervisory board members at Europe’s largest companies and just 3% of chairpersons are women. It is evident that without direct intervention this disparity would take too long to correct itself.
Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner has asked the publicly listed company to voluntarily commit to the pledge. She has even suggested at possible legislations if there is not sufficient progress made in the matter. Three Greek companies–G. Kallimanis SA, G. Leoussis SA and Trofodotiki Aigaiou SA–and a Belgian company, Schellter Strategy Consulting has also signed the pledge voluntarily. The new IMF chief Christine Lagarde advocates intervention. Europe has been more aggressive in the matter when compared to the US.