International Research and Practice
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Val Singh, Ronald J. Burke, Diana Bilimoria and Morten Huse
Chapter 7: The Quota Story: Five Years of Change in Norway
7. The quota story: ﬁve years of change in Norway Marit Hoel INTRODUCTION Oslo 2002, the day before the 8 March celebration: two ministers have called 150 business leaders, journalists and a small group of researchers to an early morning seminar. After months of heated discussions in the media on how best to remedy the lack of women in business leadership, the announcement is being made. At the beginning of the meeting the Minister for Trade and Industry conﬁrms that the Centre-coalition government is prepared to propose a quota law where public limited companies are required to elect an overall ﬁgure of 40 per cent women to serve on company boards. However, companies will be given three years to comply on a voluntary basis, and thus avoid the law being put into eﬀect. A heated discussion follows the announcement: with very few exceptions, business leaders and employer organizations oppose the proposal and warn of consequences. These are reduced competency, lack of authority and trust in the international markets. Some of the discussants even warn of severe economic consequences for the overall national economy and ﬁnancial health of the country.1 The seminar turns out to be the starting point for the swiftest change ever witnessed in corporate governance in Norway. In this chapter we will highlight the background, the most important features of the development, and the ﬁnal outcome in terms of gender balanced corporate boards. BACKGROUND The Nordic countries have been regarded as very successful in their e...
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