40% of Norwegian board members women

Norway has highest proportion of female board members in world

Norway has set a new global record by having the highest proportion of female non-executive directors, after a compulsory quota to combat gender inequality.

Two years ago companies in Norway were told to change the structure of their boards to include more females – or risk dissolution.

As a result, Norway now has the highest number or female board members, which now stands at 40%.

The new law has ruffled a few feathers among some Norwegian companies. Rolf Dammann, the co-owner of a Norwegian bank, commented: ‘People had had to sack board members they’ve worked with and trusted for 20 or 30 years, and replace them with someone unknown. That’s hard.’

By contrast, in Britain only 14.5% of non-executive board positions are filled by women and one in four of the FTSE 100 boards still have no women at all.

The situation is similar across Europe with only 2% of boardroom positions held by women in Italy and 4% in Spain.

The Norwegian government backs up the new law by saying the quota is not only to attain gender equality, but also makes economic sense. Global investment company Goldman Sachs explained in a recent paper that equality ‘plays a key role in addressing the twin problems of population ageing and pension stability.’

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