CAC 40 and SBF 120: Gender diversity continues to progress in management bodies ​


According to the new IFA/Ethics & Boards barometer, CAC 40 and SBF 120 companies have anticipated the call for the Rixain law on quotas in Comex and Codirs. France is now in the best places on these questions.

While large French companies must calculate their 2024 professional equality index and make it public no later than March 1, the French Institute of Administrators (IFA) and the Ethics & Boards firm are publishing the second edition of their barometer on diversity of governing bodies within the CAC 40 and the SBF 120. “For 15 years, we have seen continuous progress, accelerated by the laws in France,” comments Floriane de Saint Pierre, president and founder of Ethics & Boards, interviewed by Challenges. “Diversity is a foundation of the governance model in France,” underlines Denis Terrien, president of the IFA, in the press release presenting the study.

Companies have taken up the subject »

The most anticipated figures were those relating to management bodies, targeted by the law of December 24, 2021 aimed at accelerating economic and professional equality, known as the “Rixain law”. Will the companies concerned manage to reach the first threshold set by this text, that of 30% women in the Executive Committees on January 1, 2026? The suspense should not last very long: “The companies took up the subject and they got ahead of the law,” summarizes Floriane de Saint Pierre. In fact, 45% of CAC 40 companies have already reached or exceeded the required threshold, as have 44.2% of those in the SBF 120.

The acceleration is impressive. “Five years ago, only 10% of CAC 40 companies and 12% of those in the SBF 120 were at this level,” recalls the founder of Ethics & Boards. This shows that the women were there! » On average, the Comex and Codirs of the CAC 40 groups now have 27.4% women, an increase of 1.9 points in one year, and those of the SBF 120 have 27.2% (+0, 8 point). A performance surpassed only by Sweden (30.2%), Norway (29.8%) and the United Kingdom (28.8%). Far ahead of other European countries, “France even surpasses the United States, which has a score of 26.3% women in S&P 100 index companies.”

Presidencies and general management: the account is still not there
Good performance also on the side of administrative or supervisory boards, the Copé-Zimmermann law having imposed quotas for women since 2011: the CAC 40 has 46.7% women directors this year (46.4% for the SBF 120 ). But the inequalities between women and men have not disappeared.

There remains the crucial question of presidencies and general management: out of the 120 largest French companies, there are only seven women board chairs – including two at the CAC 40, Angeles Garcia-Poveda at Legrand and Barbara Dalibard at Michelin -, six women CEO (but none at the CAC 40) and eight general directors, including three at the CAC 40: Catherine MacGregor (Engie), Christel Heydemann (Orange) and Estelle Brachlianoff (Veolia). The account is still not there.

It is therefore the most difficult question, that of power, which remains to be resolved and which remains at the heart of all inequalities. By examining the composition of the committees created by the councils within them, Floriane de Saint Pierre wants to remain confident. Women, who today represent 47.9% of the members of nomination committees, also hold 53% of the chairs of these committees. “For me, women are in a position to be able to influence future appointments of managers,” believes the expert who, through her work, influences in her own way the march of women towards power within companies.

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