French parliament could force firms to appoint women to 40% of boardroom seats

The French parliament is considering a law to force big companies to appoint women to 40% of their boardroom seats.

MPs for president Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) tabled the Bill, which gives companies six years to comply, but it is broadly supported by the government and is likely to pass into law in amended form this year, the Times reports.

France’s top companies remain male bastions, along with those of southern Europe. Women occupy just over 10% of board seats in the 650 publicly quoted companies to which the new law would apply.

Some corporate giants, such as EADS, the Franco-German-dominated parent of Airbus, have no women directors.

The UK’s record is not much better, the paper reports, with women occupying just 12% of board seats in big companies.

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