A lot actually. There are quite a few similarities between these two settings. At both the poker table and the boardroom table, the stakes are high, life changing decisions are made, and risks are calculated. Perhaps the most noticeable similarity between the two is their mutual lacking of one very important asset in the 21st century, women. Around the world, poker rooms and conference rooms alike are predominately occupied by male parties, as women are minorities in both the business and poker worlds. Seats at both tables are often reserved solely for men, but the European Commission has decided to change that.
As described on the European Union’s official website, on November 14th, 2012 the European Commission adopted a proposed legislation – “with the aim of attaining a 40% objective of the under-represented sex in non-executive board-member positions.” – the legislation would require publicly listed companies to employee at least 40% non-executive female board members by 2020.
Since its adoption last November, the legislation’s effectiveness is already being seen throughout the European Union. On January 25th, new mid-term statistics were released by the EU saying that the percentage of female non-executive board members has already increased from 13.7 percent in January 2012 to 15.8 percent in January 2013. Less than three months after the official adoption of this quota law, its success is sweeping across the European Union, and is a global step forward for female professionals everywhere.
The recent, and almost immediate, success of the legislation has many wondering what global initiatives we can expect to see sparked by the EU’s push for gender equality. The United States boasts similar female to male board member ratios. In 2012 Ernst & Young reported that of the 1500 S&P companies indexed, only 14 percent of board seats were occupied by female members.
As the European Union continues to experience the value of their quota law, women professionals around the world can only hope that other nations will follow their example.