Netherlands: is the women's quota a good idea?

According to a ruling by the Social and Economic Council (SER), the country's most important body representing employers, trade unions and independent experts, large companies in the Netherlands must introduce a women's quota. 30 percent of all the posts on supervisory boards are to go to female members - a controversial decision.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Cement to hold a strong society together

De Volkskrant welcomes the move:

“A drastic approach is necessary. After years of good intentions and empty promises only 12.4 percent of the board members at the 5,000 biggest companies are female, and only 8.4 percent on supervisory boards. ... Opponents who say that with such regulations women are only employed to fill the quotas are showing above all that they have very little trust - in themselves or in the qualities of their colleagues. This shows that they haven't recognised the urgent need to keep society together - with an inclusive labour market and a broad basis for the decisions that are made in boardrooms.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

The state must stay out of this

This is taking things too far, De Telegraaf argues:

“This form of state pressure is unwanted. What woman will want to get a job on the basis of this quota? And why must a place on the board of directors remain empty if there's a competent man who can fill it? The other aspect of the proposal is much smarter. The Social and Economic Council wants businesses that are not listed on the stock exchange to put forward their own targets. That will allow for differences between businesses and make room for tailor-made solutions. It may take more time, but it will shift responsibility to where it belongs: to the boards and not the state.”