Initiative promoting rise of women share on boards lands in Poland

On the 06/10/21 at 7:42AM


Adrien Paredes-Vanheule

Poland became on Wednesday the 18th country with a 30% Club since the gender diversity initiative launched in the UK in 2010.

The 30% Club initiative keeps expanding in Europe, and for the first time in Eastern Europe, with a new branch in Poland launched on Wednesday. 30% Club Poland aims to increase the representation of women to at least 30% of management and supervisory boards combined in 140 of the largest Polish listed companies by 2030.

As an intermediate goal, it targets a threshold of 20% female participation in the governing bodies of Polish main equity indices WIG20, mWIG40 and sWIG80 companies by 2025. Poland’s 30% Club also seeks to end all-male boards among those companies. As of end 2020, the share of women on boards of those companies was only 15.5%.

The first members to join the Polish 30% Club include CEOs and chairs of 13 companies: BASF Polska, Benefit Systems, Blue Media, Credit Suisse Poland, Emitel, IBM Poland and Baltics, Mastercard Europe Polish branch, Orange Polska, Ryvu Therapeutics, Siemens Polska, Société Générale Branch in Poland, Summa Linguae and Wirtualna Polska.

In the UK, where the 30% Club campaign was first launched in 2010, it took eight years to achieve the club’s target of 30% women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies. The target was achieved in September 2018 and the current female share of board seats for FTSE100 companies is 37.1% and 34.5% for FTSE350 companies.

In addition, 30% Club Poland has launched an investor group which sees local institutional investors commit to promoting the initiative. The group consists of: Aegon PTE, NN Investment Partners TFI and Noble Funds TFI.

Milena Olszewska-Miszuris, co-chair and initiator of 30% Club Poland, commented: “Institutional investors have an important role to play in achieving diversity on corporate boards. I am pleased that representatives of our Investor Group intend to raise issues related to the low participation of women in management boards and more often include women in nominations for independent members of supervisory boards.”

Aleksandra Gren, co-chair 30% Club Poland, added: “Polish women are one of the most entrepreneurial women in Europe, very aware of their contribution to GDP growth. It is high time for corporate boards in Poland to strengthen their ranks with more women leaders. Women’s representation on boards today is still low compared to the United Kingdom and the US. I am very happy that the 30% Club has decided to invest and expand its activities to Poland. I trust that, as usual, Poland will positively surprise and overdeliver.”

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