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European Women on Boards (EWoB) is the organization created in July 2013 by Women on Board in Belgium, AFECA in France, BPF in Finland and the Norwegian Institute of Directors, to promote the participation of talented women in board of directors internationally. It is progressively expanding its membership in Europe and since that time, it includes the Institute of Directors (UK) as one additional full member. A number of other contacts are in progress in several European countries.

On 5 December 2013 at Tour & Taxis in Brussels, Women on Board, the Belgian co-founding association, held a highly successful, internationally attended launch event to celebrate the creation of European Women on Boards. More than 400 business people attended, in a cheerful atmosphere in the beautifully, X-mas decorated, central hall of Tour & Taxis. The event was sponsored by PwC Belgium, AXA Belgium and Thalys International.

The Vice Prime Minister of Belgium, Joëlle Milquet, gave the audience a lively introduction, expressing her beliefs that women should be better represented in the corporate life and how she views the steps to be taken.

Sonja Rottiers, chairwoman of Women on Board (Belgium) highlighted the purpose and actions  of her organization.

Marie-Ange Andrieux, co chair of EWoB and co chair of AFECA, presented EWoB objectives, values and action plan. The ambition of the network is to make the difference through corporate governance best practice combining performance and ethics, which should lead to innovative business models for more balanced competitiveness and sustainable growth.

A panel discussion followed, moderated by Julia Harrison from FTI Consulting, including several highly representative businessmen and women:

– Dominique Leroy, at the time Vice President Consumer Business Unit, now CEO of Belgacom

– Franck Gervais, CEO of Thalys International

– Christiane Bizancio, Group Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at AXA Group,

– Nancy Mc Kinstry, CEO and Chair of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer

– Patrick Zürstrassen, chairman of ecoDa

As keynote speaker, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy stressed the importance of gender diversity on boards in the scope of the EU 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Cécile Coune, co-chair of EWoB and vice-chair of Women on Board gave the closing remarks.

An animated cocktail party followed, during which participants continued to debate and network in a very nice and friendly atmosphere.

The launch of EWoB on 5 December 2013 in Brussels was definitely a milestone in the history of the association!