Getting Women on to Corporate Boards
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Getting Women on to Corporate Boards

A Snowball Starting in Norway

Edited by Silke Machold, Morten Huse, Katrin Hansen and Marina Brogi

This book provides unique insights into how the idea of quota laws to get women on to corporate boards gained international momentum from its origins in Norway. Invaluable insights are gained through the stories of actors involved in shaping the discourse and practice on women of boards.
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Chapter 4: Concluding remarks to Part I

Morten Huse


A snowball started to roll in 2002 in Norway. The conditions were conducive to the formation of the snowball; nevertheless many co- incidences were behind the snowball effect. Activists and feminists in politics played their part together with a Conservative minister. The feminists had prepared the landscape and made the snowball, but it was pushed by the Minister of Trade and Industry who had private reasons to do so. The snowball is now rolling with increasing speed and size to the rest of the world, and many countries have followed Norway’s example. In Part I we have through interviews heard and read the stories from Minister Ansgar Gabrielsen and Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. They may be considered as the father and the grandfather of the law. However, the mother and the grandmother of the law are the previous Ministers of Equality, Laila Dåvøy and Valgerd Svarstad Haugland. Together they worked to develop the Norwegian law on gender balance in the boardrooms, and it was not an easy birth. Ten years later the main actors from 2002 offer in Part I their reflections on the process. They are proud of what they helped to start. The process and the effects have far exceeded their expectations, and nowadays the world looks to Norway. Voluntary action did not succeed in increasing the number of women on corporate board, but formal regulation through a quota law worked. There is now a gender balance in the boards of Norwegian publicly traded companies.

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