Women are generally under-represented in economic and social decision-making bodies, even though they play an increasing part in the world of work. The governing and supervisory boards of both private and public-sector firms and the governing bodies of trade union and professional organisations, chambers of commerce and major trade associations, etc, all still include too few women, as do industrial tribunals, which means that the representation of women and men in decision-making is not properly balanced.
This unequal access to decision-making and supervisory bodies is not only discriminatory. It also undermines good economic governance. Several studies have shown that the presence of women is beneficial to the performance of businesses. Fostering access by women to positions of responsibility here is not only a matter of ensuring justice. It also means increasing the profitability and productivity of businesses and creating more jobs. Lastly, access by more women to the “high-flyer” category would help offer women more motivating careers.
The promotion of women in decision-making does not only concern the political sphere, through efforts to achieve parity, for instance. It must also cover the economic and social sectors. Moreover, several member states have taken action, in the form either of incentives or of binding measures, to increase the proportion of women in decision-making bodies. Some member states have also chosen to amend their constitutions to remove possible legal obstacles to the passage of legislation to promote equal access by women and men to economic and social decision-making.
On the basis of a study of best practice in member states, the Assembly should therefore draw up proposals to promote gender parity in decision-making bodies in the economic and social sector.