A Snowball Starting in Norway
Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi
We started Part V by discussing three formal approaches to gender diversity on boards: (1) quota legislation which mandates a minimum percentage for certain groups of companies with associated legal sanctions for non-compliance; (2) regulation which include corporate governance codes and disclosure regulations which typically has no formal sanction but is used on a ‘comply or explain’ basis; and (3) voluntary efforts where companies sign up to voluntary pledges or targets. We learnt that different countries prefer different approaches and connected this to national characteristics, including political, economic, legal and gender equality dimensions. This discussion leads directly to the question whether a European solution should be found and realized, as Vivian Reding’s arguments in Chapter 29 suggest, or whether it is more appropriate for countries to develop their own policies and strategies. As we learnt from the political ‘parents’ of the gender quota law in Norway (see Chapter 1 of this book), a legal step of such magnitude had a long history of political and social activities, even in country renowned for its gender egalitarianism. There- fore, country-specific social, economic and political conditions may well be an important factor in shaping policies and strategies for increasing women in leadership positions. Possibly strategic patterns and paths of movement in respect of formal approaches to women on boards could be identified by analyzing in further detail characteristics of the societies in question.
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