A Snowball Starting in Norway
Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi
Chapter 25: Women on boards: lessons learnt from Norway
We all agree that to increase the number of women in leadership positions of companies is an essential requirement to achieve equal opportunities and to improve management. This was revealed most recently by the financial and economic crisis that started in 2008. However, the European countries have taken different developments paths. Concerning the topic of women on boards, Germans can learn a lot from the Norwegians. Looking at it from a management and business, national economy and politics point of view and comparing it internationally, it is totally unacceptable that in Germany women and men are educated and qualified in the same manner but there are only 4 percent women on boards of directors representing shareholders, and approximately 12 percent women if we include female employee representatives. Germany is ranked in the middle when comparing European countries’ positions in respect of women on boards of directors of listed corporations. And this position is only attained because of the German feature of employee representation on boards. Germany would be found in the last third if we discounted the female employee representatives. One question that has existed for a long while is how this situation can be changed. For this reason, a group of high-ranking women from areas such as economics, politics and science came together to form the initiative FidAR – Frauen in die Aufsichtsräte e.V. (Women onto Boards). This group works nationwide, above party lines and voluntarily with the aim to bring factual discussion on this topic into the public domain, and to get more qualified women into jobs serving on boards of directors.
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