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“Fighting inequality and supporting diversity: Europe’s big challenge?”


31 Jan 2013


Innovation & Enterprise
Euro & Finance

“Fighting inequality and supporting diversity:

Europe’s big challenge? ”


-ACCA President debate-

In association with the Irish presidency of the Council of the EU


5th March 2013


Bibliotheque Solvay, Parc Leopold, Brussels


Despite the tangible achievements in the last 50 years, recent studies have shown that the corporate world is far from making the most out of diversity – particularly gender diversity, especially for managerial positions. Another societal issue strongly linked to the broader issue of managing diversity in the working life is the ageing of the labour force; age discrimination towards older workers needs to be addressed, new structures and approaches have to be developed to allow the increasing number of older workers to remain active on the labour market.


We have not achieved equality. For instance, women are still facing discriminations, such as pay gap, or inequalities vis-à-vis their ability to reconcile work and family life. The fact that at present only 3% of chief executives in the largest European companies are women underlines that companies are not drawing from the full pool of skills that is available. According to OECD data, women are currently probably the most underexploited resource for the economy and the society.


However, to face the daunting challenges linked to growth and jobs affecting most major economies, we cannot afford to waste women’s – nor senior’s- economic contributions. There is an urgent need to shift the actual trend and tap into these either largely unexploited – or badly exploited- sources of talent.


There is an economic, societal and a business case for this, but changing mentalities takes time, incentives, as well as, crucially, stronger business engagement. It also needs a more focused attention from decision and policy makers, and better awareness-raising actions and dialogue toward - and with-   the society as a whole.


ACCA, in association with the Irish presidency of the Council of the EU, is therefore delighted to invite you to a high level conference in the framework of its President’s debate to discuss with experts what can be done to fight inequalities and discrimination in the workplace. The aim is to exchange best practices in terms of existing support towards diversity and also envisage what could be the next steps to reinforce that support.


RSVP by Tuesday 26 February to

Draft agenda



2.30pm Welcome speech by the Chair, Martin Turner ACCA Deputy President

2.40pm Panel 1 Are we correctly tackling inequality and discrimination in the workplace?

·         Daniela Bankier, Head of Gender Equality Unit, DG justice

·         Angelica Salvi del Pero, Economist - OECD Gender Initiative

Case studies:

·         Louise Richardson,  Vice-President, AGEplaftform

·         The Swedish experience: a well-developed welfare system to balance work and family life

·         Cristina Vicini, Board Director and GBRW Founding Member, the Global Board-Ready Women Initiative

3.40pm Q&As

4.00pm Coffee break

4.15pm Panel 2 Can we do more -or better-  to support diversity?

·         Richard Howitt, MEP

·         The Diversity charters, tbc

·         Didier Millerot, Head of the Financial Reporting Unit,  DG MARKT

·         Massimo Baldinato, Member of EU Commission Vice-President Tajani, responsible for enterprise and industry

·         Evelyn Regner, MEP

5.15pm Q&As

5.45pm Concluding remarks by Fiona O'Sullivan, Justice attaché - Civil Law, Equality & eJustice, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU

6.00pm Conclusions by the chair, Martin Turner ACCA Deputy President,

6.15pm cocktail reception



Cecile Bonino
Public Affairs and Media Relations Manager-EU
CBI business house
14 rue de la Science
BE-1040 Brussels
Tel:+32 (0) 2 286 11 37
Mob: +44 (0) 7809595008

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