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 8: The Swiss case of women on boards of directors

Christine Wetli


In Switzerland women are still underrepresented on corporate boards of directors (Amacher, 2009; Ethos, 2011). In 2011, there were 10 percent women on boards of directors in Switzerland and during the following two years there has not been any significant change (Schillingreport, 2011, pp. 14–15). Almost one-third of the female board members are from abroad and 92 percent have a university degree compared to 88 percent of the male board members (Schillingreport, 2011, pp. 4–5). Although there have been several attempts to introduce a gender quota, following the example of Norway (Bundesversammlung, 2003a), none of these has been successful. However, as this chapter tries to demonstrate, other measures are taken in order to increase the percentage of women on corporate boards of directors in Switzerland: The IFPM Center for Corporate Governance of the University of St Gallen founded the Female Board Pool (FBP), which is ‘a platform for the contact between experienced and future female board members and corporations’ (Female Board Pool, 2011a, 2012; Institute for Leadership and Human Resource Management, 2006; 2011, p. 20). From 2012 onwards, it is planned to publish an index listing the companies with the most women on their boards and in their top management teams. Finally, the Center has also developed best-practice guidelines for small and medium-sized enterprises in which a certain representation of women on boards, depending on the size of the company, is recommended (IFPM Center for Corporate Governance, 2009).

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