New mandatory gender quotas were introduced for large French companies in January this year.
Under article L225-18-1 of the Commercial Code, companies which are listed or exceed a certain threshold of employees, turnover or total balance sheet, must have at least 40% women members on their boards of directors and supervisory boards.
If the new rules are breached, board member appointment can be annulled and board members’ benefits can be suspended.
Gender quotas were introduced in France in 2011 and required corporate boards to have 20% of female board members by 2014, and 40% by 2017.
The new rules apply to publicly listed and some state-owned companies, as well as unlisted companies that have more than 500 workers and average revenues or total assets of more than €50m during the last three consecutive years.
In 2014, companies with more than €1bn in capital (compartment A) had 30% of women sitting on boards, while companies with more than €150m in capital (compartment B) reached a total of 24.9% women board members.