Women in the boardroom

This story from the BBC is interesting. A few years ago, Norway, which already had a reasonably high number of women holding top executive jobs, introduced a law which said listed companies would be closed if they didn’t have women making up 40% of their executive boards. They were given until January 1st 2008 to comply. Well, that deadline has passed and it seems very nearly all have managed to comply. Of course, 40% is still not enough, but I’m impressed.As the article shows, there are complaints about this from the companies – “we should be able to choose on c.v.s not gender”, ” executive teams must be very carefully balanced, and worrying about gender just makes teams unbalanced and puts business at risk” – but there are counters made to these complaints in the article too. Looking at the c.v.s of the women recruited suggests that the government may have done these businesses a serious favour.There are still worries though. For instance, there has been a brain drain to the private sector meaning there are now fewer women at the executive level in the public sector. I guess the obvious solution is to introduce legislation giving the public sector five years to recruit women to its top level posts.Any thoughts on this? Some problems aside, legislation seems to have been effective for Norway. What do people think of it as a solution?

3 thoughts on “Women in the boardroom

  1. On the one hand, this is likely to be a very productive approach because it gives companies an additional incentive to develop the talents of women on all levels, because more will have to be found for the top jobs. On the other, I don’t agree that the legal level ought to be more than 40%: the distribution of talent will vary from business to business and once the culture of equality has taken root women won’t be seen as not-director-material any more.

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