EU Parliament back quota for women on boards; now moves to EU member states

The European Parliament has backed a proposal calling for a 40 percent quota of women on company boards by 2020.

The EU parliament approved the proposal by a 459-148 vote with 81 abstentions on Wednesday, but the toughest test will come when it goes to member states for further discussion as soon as next month.

EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding called the resolution a "historic moment for gender equality in Europe."

The Commission says that last year less than 15 percent of board members at Europe's biggest companies were women.