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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 11: Concluding remarks to Part II

Silke Machold

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


For the majority of countries, the right of women to vote and run for office is less than 100 years old. Oxford University only allowed women’s admission in 1920 (, Cambridge followed even later in 1948 (Sutherland, 1994). The UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (also known as the International Bill of Rights for Women) did not come into force until 1981, and even today some countries have not yet signed up to the Convention. These examples show that it is only in fairly recent history that progress towards women’s rights has been made, and much of that progress has been due to strong national and international movements advocating the rights of women. In Part II, we have discussed a different kind of advocacy movement, specifically the various initiatives that are under way outside the immediate political arena to promote women on to boards. We focused in particular on the role of education, the creation of networks and networking opportunities, the provision of research and information, and the promotion of role models for women in leadership. These initiatives are in many obvious ways different from the women’s rights advocacy movement, yet they all serve to publicize the debate and mainstream the practice of women on boards. In particular, we have argued that these various initiatives are essential parts of normative (professionalization) and mimetic (copying and replication) processes which in tandem with more formal approaches to gender diversity on boards bring about an institutionalization of the practice.

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