International Women’s Rights Day: feminization within the governing bodies of large companies.

On the occasion of the international Women’s Rights Day, let’s come back to feminization within the governing bodies of large companies.

Law No. 2021-1774 of December 24, 2021 (“Rixain Law”) aiming at accelerating economic and professional equality has introduced progressive quotas for the minimum representation of each sex within senior executives and governing bodies of companies employing at least 1,000 employees for the third consecutive financial year.

From March 1, 2026: 30% quota increased to 40% on March 1, 2029.

The concept of “governing body” is innovative. It was introduced into the French Commercial Code in the article L. 23-12-1. This includes any collegial management assistance body such as executive committees, management committees, etc.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of these measures, the law establishes a sanction mechanism for failure to comply within two years:

  • Publication: at the end of a period of one year, they must publish progress objectives and the corrective measures adopted according to terms which will be defined by decree;
  • Financial sanction Financial sanction in the form of a penalty, up to 1% of payroll, after the expiry of the two-year period, if the thresholds are still not reached.

Obligation from March 1, 2022 to publish any differences in representation between women and men among the senior executives and governing bodies of these same companies on the company’s website and from March 1, 2023 on the website of the Ministry of Labor by December 31 of each year.

In order to accelerate the feminization of governing bodies, the legislator wished to compel the relevant companies by financial sanctions in the event of non-compliance with the quotas.

We can nevertheless regret a late deadline for implementation and a limited scope of targeted companies. It is worth noting that a study from the end of 2021 showed that only 31% of the 120 largest listed companies (SBF120) have at least 30% women in their executive committee and 9% have at least 40.

The team:

  • Marie-Pierre Souweine

    Tel. +33 (0)1 53 93 22 00 See more