(Bloomberg) -- The Czech government took a step toward redressing the disproportionately low share of women in management positions. 

Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s cabinet approved draft legislation required by the European Union that would force some large companies to promote greater gender balance in their top ranks. Measures like that might help trim the 18% income gap between Czech men and women, the third-biggest in the EU, according to the Eurostat. 

The bill approved late on Wednesday now goes to parliament, which recently rejected a proposal to legalize same-sex marriages and blocked the adoption of the 2011 Istanbul Convention on combating domestic violence.

Fiala’s administration is asking private corporations to lead gender-equality efforts that have largely failed in the public sector. 

The strongly secular Czech Republic has never had a female prime minister or president, and only one woman sits in the 18-member cabinet. The country’s central bank has a better track record, with two female board members out of seven.

The government now wants to improve the gender balance on the executive and supervisory boards of traded businesses, pointing out that women account for only 21% of members, compared with an EU average of 32%. All 11 companies in the Prague Stock Exchange’s PX Index have male chief executive officers.

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