Day 2 at the Women’s Forum, and the blog team assembled for this occasion has already come across lots of sources of inspiration. Céline was impressed by the charisma and conviction of the two Nobel Peace Prize winners Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee. I felt the same. This sentiment was the highlight of the day, reflecting Shirin Ebadi’s thought provoking flair and enthusiasm. I also saw Jessica praising, yet again, the talent and passion of Kresse Wesling, one of the Cartier Initiative Awards winners.
So a gripping Day 2 and feedback from Viviane Reding on her proposal to set up quotas for Boards of Directors in Europe. She pointed out that studies show that getting women onto Boards is advantageous and that – 60% of college and university graduates being women – Europe should promote female talent at the highest executive levels. In 2 years, there‘s been only a 2% improvement, mainly led by France where the proportion has gone from 12% to 22%. Viviane Reding admitted that, despite her long and rich experience in the many battles she has fought, this is by far the toughest, despite the support of European governments. She ended with concrete examples such as Deutsche Bank who, having seen the financial benefits of promoting women to top management positions, has raised its own quota to above 40%.