A Snowball Starting in Norway
Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi
Chapter 16: Women on boards: the United States in a global comparison
The key focus of the 2011 Women on Board Conference at the Norwegian School of Management BI was how to measure the effectiveness and success of the drive to increase the representation of women on boards around the world. The discussion started with the Norwegian business case, tracing the earlier efforts to increase the number of women on corporate boards from fewer than 7 percent of the seats to the mandated goal to fill at least 40 percent of the seats on the boards of directors of public companies with women and similarly at least 40 percent of the seats with men. By 2010, this had been largely achieved. The Norwegian model had a far-reaching impact. Finland, with a present-day board representation of 23.4 percent, enacted a requirement that women constitute at least 40 percent of board members in companies wholly owned by the state, an objective achieved in the spring of 2006; and in 2010, a corporate governance code that required public companies to have representation from both genders on the board of directors. Sweden (23.9 percent women on corporate boards) enacted a corporate governance code in 2008 for public companies requiring them to strive for equal gender distribution on boards. An equality law introduced in Spain in 2007 required public companies with more than 250 employees to ‘develop gender equality plans with clear implications for female appointments to the board’, with the objective that by 2015 they would represent at least 40 percent of board members.
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