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Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 10:03 UK

Should there be quotas for women on boards?


The European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding is proposing a new law in Strasbourg today that would force all major European companies to have at least 40% of their boards made up of women.

The commission is deeply divided on the issue with most other female commissioners preferring self-regulation.

Labour's spokesperson on gender and equality in the European Parliament, Mary Honeyball, was positive about encouraging companies to recruit more women board members, arguing that the current system was not "working quickly enough" to get women on boards: "It will take about 25 to 30 years to get us up to the 40% mark."

"We need quotas to move things along," she explained.

Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, said that we have seen a "huge leap up" in the number of women of boards over the last two years and that there is evidence that introducing quotas does not necessarily have as effect on the number of women in chief executives roles.

"It seems odd to introduce another form of discrimination to solve arguably an injustice that we have already," she added.

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