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 12: Characteristics and background of the Norwegian women directors

Morten Huse


Part III has two main objectives: (1) to explore the board compositional consequences of the Norwegian gender balance law; and (2) to provide background and illustrations about the women who have become board members in Norway. It contains the stories from some of the ‘Golden Skirts’, with emphasis on their own contributions, motivations and challenges. Part III contains stories from Ingvild Myhre, Merethe Lütken, Thorhild Widvey and Nini Høegh Nergaard. They represent different types of women who are now highly present and visible on corporate boards. As one purpose of Part III is to explore board compositional consequences of the Norwegian gender quota law we decided to focus on the women that were introduced to the Norwegian boards in the period 2007–2010. Our particular attention was on the women often labelled the ‘Golden Skirts’. The term the ‘Golden Skirts’ has received considerable attention in the Norwegian and later also the international press, as well as in research (Seierstad and Opsahl, 2011). Generally it has a negative connotation, and studies have been conducted to explore who the women on boards in Norway are, and how they have been selected (Heidenreich, 2010). Critical voices in the international press have been skeptical about the development of an elite group of prominent women that is replacing the ‘old boys’ network’. Table 12.1 illustrates that this may indeed be the case.

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