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 27: Italy’s lessons learnt from Norway

Marina Brogi


Italy’s lessons learnt from Norway can be seen from three different and yet complementary viewpoints. The first is academic: how can the introduction of a quota law influence corporate governance and boards in theory? The second is based on experience as a board member: how can a greater number of women influence board dynamics in practice? Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how is it possible to promote a quota law with such a potentially far-reaching impact in a country like Italy? Three aspects appear to be particularly important in the lesson (almost) learnt from Norway: (1) some background information on Italy; (2) why a quota law is necessary and how it is progressing through the Italian Parliament; and (3) some concluding but not conclusive thoughts about serving on boards. Italy is one of the major industrialized countries in the world. Depending on the ranking it is in 7th or 8th position globally in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), even though it is among the slowest- growing countries. Italy is bottom in terms of growth but has done well in the past, and that is why it is still big. Italy has 60 million people, a large GDP, but is suffering from an insufficient growth rate. This leads straight into the second point. The Bank of Italy recently estimated that if Italy achieved the target of the Lisbon treaty – that is, a 60 percent participation of women in the workforce – GDP would grow by up to 7 percent.

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