The EU Commission wants the proportion of female board members at big companies to rise to 40% by 2020, from the current average of 12%.
Malta is at the bottom of the league of EU states with 3% only of women on company boards. The proportion of women in national parliaments across the EU is 24 while in Malta it is just over 6%.
The Commission has said it may legislate to make quotas compulsory.The New York Times reports that justice commissioner Vivane Reding has proposed that companies allocating fewer than 40 per cent of seats on supervisory board could face sanctions.
If the proposal is approved, it would require state-owned companies to name women to 40 percent of the seats on the supervisory boards by 2018. Publicly listed companies would have a deadline of 2020.
According to the current proposal, the national authorities would be able to choose one or all of the following options to enforce the quota; financial penalties, exclusion from bids on public contracts or restricting access to national and European subsidies.
An EU official said Reding hoped to be able to make the final proposal public by mid-October.
Some EU countries, including France and the Netherlands, already have their own national quotas, the Irish Times says, however, the plans have met resistance from some of those without limits, including Sweden and the UK.
Deutsche Welle reports that, according to OECD statistics, Germany has the largest discrepancy between male an female wages, with women representing just three per cent of directors boards.
According to the Telegraph, Reding said that "self-regulation so far has not brought about satisfactory results" for women.