A Snowball Starting in Norway
Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi
Chapter 14: Concluding remarks to Part III
The public debate about the Norwegian gender balance law often refers to an American study about the perception of it by investors (Ahern and Dittmar, 2012). The study shows how investors on the stock exchanges reacted when companies announced that a woman was elected. They reported that investors did not like the law. The authors reported that the women directors had ‘significantly less CEO experience and were younger, more highly educated, and more likely to be employed as a non-executive manager’. Interesting, but not very surprising. Investors and stock exchanges are typically not in favor of governmental interventions, and we also know that the most important criterion for becoming a board member traditionally has been prior experience as a board member or a chief executive officer (CEO). In Norway, only about 2 percent of CEOs were women before the gender balance law, and only 6 percent of board members were women. Inevitably, the women that were introduced as board members had to have different backgrounds. Finally, it is not very surprising as the Norwegian corporate law generally requires that all board members are non-executive. We have in Part III explored board compositional characteristics of the Norwegian gender balance law, and illustrated who the women are that became board members in Norway. The immediate consequence of the law was that women already in board positions received more invitations to such posts, and Norway has more multi-board women than multi-board members.
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