The European Parliament in Strasbourg has voted in favour of draft rules aimed at increasing female representation on the boards of listed companies (459 votes for, 148 votes against and 81 abstentions).
Under the new proposals, companies will have to adjust their recruitment, selection and appointment procedures in order to ensure that they have a quota of at least 40% female non-executive directors on their board.
If successful, indications are that the laws will be enforced in relation to all state-owned companies by 2018 and to EU listed companies by 2020.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has called the vote a “historic moment for gender equality.”
However, to become law, the plans still need the backing of EU member states, and it is likely that this will present a tougher test.