The European Union's justice commissioner asked publicly listed companies to appoint more women to corporate boards and threatened them with imposed quotas if they don't.
Viviane Reding said Tuesday that European companies should commit voluntarily to fill 30 percent of all board positions with women by 2015, going up to 40 percent by 2020
Reding says the companies have 12 months to self-regulate. She said the companies should become creative "so that regulators do not have to become creative."
EU data shows that currently only 12 percent of board members at Europe's biggest firms are women. Over the past seven years, their presence has increased by half a percentage point.
The EU says at this rate reaching the 40 percent target will take 50 years/