Zoltán Massay-Kosubek

I am not font of quotas but I very much like what quotas do. And maybe it is necessary what quotas do.~Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice

(Source of the photo © Department for Communities and Local Government’s photostream)

Are women happy with their secret supporting role in the shadow of successful men?

I don’t think so.

Has it become a common place that the long term future of the EU integration is inextricable linked to women’s appropriate representation in the European decision making processes? Unfortunately, not.

Why did I become so indignant with the Commission proposal about 40% female quota on corporate boards?

I had 3 good reasons to be angry.

1. Firstly, the facts about women’s high level representation are crystal clear.

Let’s adopt as starting point that every second human is a women. Assuming that this ratio is cca. 50%, let’s have a look at female members of the European Commission, of the European Parliament or even of the national governments or parliaments. Based on a very positive and optimistic estimation I am sure that the final outcome would be around 10%. Without conducting in-depth researches about the reasons of that high gap between the society and politics it is obvious even for an average European citizen that this situation is somehow unnatural.

2. Secondly, the hypocrisy of the European men being in decision making positions in the public sector, making decisions on the private sector with lack of self-criticism.

What about the relation between plagiarism and femal quotas?

The buzzword must be credibility in that case.

In our times, credibility is the alfa and the omega of every successful policy. If a minister, a prime minister or a president of the Republic hit by plagiarism cannot be considered as a credible decision maker, how can men decide upon quotas which are intended to make restrictions on the private sector and having, at the some time, so many political bodies in the public sector full of men? Where are the legal obligations for public bodies? I think some definetly missed the point.

3. Thirdly, surrender and weakening the original Commission proposal on femal quotas is not the appropriate answer to the resistance.

I expected some oposition in respect of that proposal, but I was shocked when I realised that most of the critics came from female commissioners: “Reding’s earlier proposal had met with strong opposition from other commissioners, Catherine Ashton, in charge of foreign policy, Connie Hedegaard, the climate commissioner, and Cecilia Malmström, responsible for home affairs. The loudest critic of the earlier proposal was Neelie Kroes, the commissioner in charge of the digital agenda. (Euractiv article)

And what did happen? In spite of clear political signals coming from the European Parliament, the female Commissioner responsible for the proposal weakened its proposal.

Moreover, we lawyers know very well the main charactestics of the ‘lex imperfecta’ fin Roman law. And I am sorry but I can not simply understand how serious would be a legally binding proposal without having due and dissuasive sanctions.

Is it a dream or true? I wonder if this move would be the most appropriate step forward…


1. It is a shame for all of us that 100 years after the start of the sufragette movement, the representation of women is still at a ridicoulous low level everywhere in Europe.

2. In time of economic crisis, men are good at proposing financial cuts. Yes, there is a need for cuts but in the right places: let’s be all important political decision making body be divided in two equal part between men and women!

3. It does not mean in any sense that the current Commission proposal shall be withdrawn. In the contrary, it shall be coplemented with appropriate, binding measures on the public sector – at all levels.

4. If a mariage between a man and a women is based on the principle of equality, why do we not apply the same principle on our societies?

5. Without resolving the representation of women in political decision making processes, there will be no economic recovery at all, dear Sirs.

PS: I have already referred to the Roman law, where women had to remain under guardianship until the end of their entire life due to the “improvidence linked to their gender”. Is this really the direction we want to direct the European integration in the XXIth century?

I remain at your disposal.

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