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Getting Women on to Corporate Boards

Getting Women on to Corporate Boards

A Snowball Starting in Norway

Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi

This book provides unique insights into how the idea of quota laws to get women on to corporate boards gained international momentum from its origins in Norway. Invaluable insights are gained through the stories of actors involved in shaping the discourse and practice on women of boards.

Chapter 6: Competence at board level: the Norwegian case

Elbjørg Gui Standal

Subjects: business and management, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, gender and management


Approximately 22 years ago in 1989, I was one of a group of women who developed a program called Leadership from a Female Perspective. The leader of the group was Bitten Schei. We received funding to run the program from Likestillingsrådet, and the program took place at the Industrial University at Notodden, in Sortland and at the Women’s University at Løten. We were very proud of our efforts to highlight female leadership, and to encourage women to be leaders and managers. In 1997, the group was re-established, again under the leadership of Bitten Schei. We gave ourselves the name ‘Women in Business’. I had been teaching organizational management, and was wondering: Why do the authors of the books that we recommend to our students neglect to say anything about the board of directors? Is it because the subject matter is not important, or is it obvious to everyone how the work of a board member should be carried out? The group Women in Business became an advisory group for Mrs Aud Sanner at SND, which is now Innovation Norway. She was head of a program called ‘Women in Focus’. We decided to concentrate on board work, and since we should stimulate female activities within business we focused on board work for women. In 1998 I started working as an industrial professor at BI, the Norwegian Business School, and in my new role I developed the course ‘Board Competence’. This formed part of the above-mentioned program run by Aud Sanner, and students earned six credits on completion.

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