International Women’s Day: where do we stand ten years after the Copé Zimmerman law?

On International Women’s Day, Marie-Pierre Souweine, partner, reviews the status of the legal measures taken to ensure professional equality between men and women. Her assessment: despite progress, the process needs to be accelerated.

Ten years after the 2011 Copé Zimmerman Law was passed, there has been a positive impact in terms of the number of women on the boards of directors of large and public companies. Women now represent more than 45% of board members, where the legal requirement specified was only 40%.

Although this is good progress, the status of women in executive leadership roles remains inadequate. As of March 2020, women represented only 20.7% of management boards, executive committees or other executive leadership roles of SBF 120 listed companies.

The process must be accelerated. It is in this context that parliamentary deputies today tabled a bill in the National Assembly aimed at “accelerating economic and professional equality between women and men” to the National Assembly. A government study is also underway to examine what legal or regulatory requirements should be implemented at the senior management level. Although a number of issues still need to be addressed, particularly in terms of the modalities to be used in implementing quotas for executive committees when these do not have a distinct legal form, these measures are clear indicators of progress.

Why? Because beyond the question of principle, increasing women’s participation in executive leadership roles is above all a question of a change that engenders tangible effects for companies that contribute to improved economic performance.

The team:

  • Marie-Pierre Souweine

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