Early 2009, the new version of the Belgian Corporate Governance Code included, amongst other recommendations, gender diversity in the composition of boards of directors as a recommended practice.
Belgian companies willing to implement this recommendation of the Code were soon confronted with the challenge to identify women candidates to fill board positions.
A group of women sharing the same vision of increasing participation of women on boards of directors of Belgian private and public enterprises decided to create a "pool" of women with skills and experience that would benefit many boards of directors. The asbl/vzw ‘Women on Board’ was born.
By the end of 2009, the association got the financial support from the Belgian Institute for The Equality of Women and Men (IEFH/IGVM) for the project launch, together with the endorsement by the NVR (Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad), and the CFFB (Conseil des Femmes Francophones de Belgique) . The Association can also count on the administrative support of private enterprises linked to its five founding members. As from 2011, the Association receives a financial support from its sponsors and is searching for additional support from the public authorities.
In 2010, the association has created a pool of some 40 skilled women and started to connect private and public enterprises to this pool. In 2011 this pool was extended to 86 members. The ambition for 2012 is to convince enterprises to make the change happen and to have new sponsors in order to promote and facilitate more female participation on boards. Meanwhile Women on Board will continue to grow the talents' pool.