A Snowball Starting in Norway
Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi
Chapter 1: The political process behind the gender balance law
The story of how Norway developed and implemented the law on gender equality on boards is presented throughout the book. In this chapter we focus on those individuals and groups who were instrumental in the conception and development of the law, that is, the Norwegian politicians who initiated the formulation of the law, promoted its passage through the political and legal system, and ultimately facilitated its implementation. We reflect in Part I on the debate surrounding the law’s conception in Norway, and on the political processes that shaped its passage. We bring to light the struggles behind the scenes through interviews with some of the core political actors, including the Think Tank participants Laila Dåvøy and Kirsti Bergstø. Laila Dåvøy was the Norwegian Minister of Equality in 2002 at the time that the law proposal was introduced, while Kirsti Bergstø was State Secretary in the Ministry of Equality in 2012. We commence in this chapter with reflections from Ansgar Gabrielsen and past Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik on the announcement of the law. Gabrielsen was the Minister of Trade and Industry who received much of the credit for the law. He has been considered as the father of the law, and has internationally received substantial attention not only for what he did, but also for how it did it. He proposed the law in the press without informing anybody – not the Prime Minister, not the Minister of Equality, nor the leaders of his own political party.