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Women in the boardroom

The Belgian perspective - 6th edition

Women are still largely under-represented on corporate boards globally, and progress to change this trend continues to be slow. The sixth edition of the Women in the Boardroom report outlines efforts and progress made in over 60 countries, including Belgium, to increase the number of women occupying board seats.

Belgian listed companies have been subject to gender quota legislation since 2011, which requires at least one-third representation of each gender on boards. At the end of 2017, roughly 81 percent of Belgian listed companies had met the quota. In May 2019, a revised version of the Belgian Corporate Governance Code (‘Code 2020’) was published that places greater emphasis on the need for diversity in skills, background, age and gender.

Women on Board, an important gender diversity initiative, was founded by five Belgian female executives to connect women with open board positions at public and private companies. Women on Board and Deloitte Belgium held a large networking event in 2017 for top female directors to discuss the role of women in leadership and the influence of unconscious bias.

Deloitte’s Women in the Boardroom report shares the latest statistics on global boardroom diversity, exploring the efforts of 66 countries to increase gender diversity in their boardrooms and features insights on the political, social, and legislative trends behind the numbers.  

Belgian highlights include:

  • In 2018, 30 percent of board seats were held by women, but only 4.4 percent of board chairs were women, down from 9 percent in 2016.
  • The number of CEOs that are women has decreased from 11.6 percent in 2016 to 8 percent in 2018.
  • Technology, Media and Telecommunications (34.5 percent) and Financial Services (29.4 percent) are the top industries with the highest percentage of women on boards.
  • Nearly one third of CFOs in Belgium are women.

A global perspective - 6th edition

Steering toward more balanced leadership is a top priority for boards. Achieving this goal can help enhance performance, improve decision making, and increase employee satisfaction. These positive outcomes will benefit both the board and the company as a whole, and they are also an important step in guiding our society toward more gender equality and more inclusive workplaces.

Caroline Veris
Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Deloitte Belgium

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