In Norway, Law Promotes Women In Boardroom

In Norway, gender equality on executive boards is taken to a new level.

In Norway, gender equality on executive boards is taken to a new level.

In Norway, gender diversity in the boardroom isn’t just a nice idea, it’s the law: The boards of all publicly traded and public limited companies in Norway must have at least 40 percent female representation.

Companies that fail to comply can, in theory, be shut down. So far, all are complying and none has been closed. But there is sharp disagreement in Norway over whether quotas have really changed the status quo.

In 2002, barely 6 percent of Norway’s corporate directors were female, and 70 percent of the top companies in the country didn’t have a single woman on their executive boards.

Kristin Holth, a bank executive, says the government needed to step in.

“Otherwise, it would have taken [such] a long time to come up to the number. If 40 [percent] is right or not, I don’t know. But the point is to get more diversity on the board, female or not. It is the diversity which I think is very good,” Holth says.

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