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Board Room Governors: What now ? Norwegian Experiences Amending company laws as to increase gender balance to elected boards of governors Tallinn 4 th.

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Presentation on theme: "Board Room Governors: What now ? Norwegian Experiences Amending company laws as to increase gender balance to elected boards of governors Tallinn 4 th."— Presentation transcript:

1 Board Room Governors: What now ? Norwegian Experiences Amending company laws as to increase gender balance to elected boards of governors Tallinn 4 th April 2013 Arni Hole Director General Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Norway

2 2 Company laws were amended in 2003, 2008, 2009 What were the political expectations to be met by the law amendments? To what extent have expectations been met? Other spin-off effects? Lessons learned how to change corporate cultures, removing hindrances of gender stereotypes as to recruit able persons to positions, regardless of gender?

3 3 Expectations: To break the gender biased corporate culture notion of ”economic decisionmaking as a male domain” To increase real numbers of the underrepresented gender in elections to board of governors of the listed (and 6 other types ) companies To harvest profit /return on investment in free higher education

4 4 Further: To widen democratic representation in the upper echelons of economy;where legally possible To boost gender equality – in a general sense To stimulate new images of women and men To eradicate indirect discrimination of women beeing ”seen” as mer representations of their sex, (group stereotyping women) rather than able persons/individuals with many capacities

5 5 Results and effects: Real numbers; 40 % or more, of the underrerpesented gender elected to boards of governors in seven different company types (appr companies; appr.300 listed companies) An abundance of able female individuals ”seen”, invited and elected to such positions Changes in corporate cultures and mental images of what competences an elected board of gov.’s should have

6 6 Spin-offs: Excellent open and exciting public discussions on gender equality in its deepest and most profound sense New and relevant social and economic research, also for further policy making A new understanding of why universal systems of early child care, paid parental leave (incl.earmarked father’s leave ), flexibility in work life as to reconcile work and family, etc. are of vital importance to change corporate cultures, enhance gender equality and employ all talents…. (along with keeping up the fertility rate)

7 7 Still: Dissappointment in the sense that these gender balanced boards of governors did not – ”immediately” - recruite and hire female CEO’s (top managers), probably this will change over time General Assemblies did not - ”immediately” – choose female chairpersons of the boards (only 8 % of the listed companies’ boards have a female chair) The regulations did not have an ”immediate” spin-off effect down the line in the corporations: more women in line management; though this is increasing

8 8 What now? However, after Parliament voted pro, corporate sector did set up good and relevant programmes for diversity and for recruiting /shortlisting persons of both genders for boardroom elections and for competing for top management I wonder if this would have happened without the legal regulations ? (Hardly…)

9 9 Summing up: The legal regulations were never seen as a ”quick fix” to all aspects of gender equality or corporate life…. It was seen, and is seen, as one tool in a rich tool-box to increase GE, boost eradication of hindrances to recruit and retain the best persons of either gender to boards of governors To change corporate cultures /increase diversity - to cope with global competetion To get return on investment in education

10 10 Today the regulations are not much debated in Norway Nevertheless, we know there will be resistance if we suggest legal regulations for elections to the boards of the largest privately ltd companies (appr ) We certainly know we have to work along all avenues and with a multitude of tools to break the still gender- segmented labour market in Norway

11 11 Why legal actions? It is not a human right to be elected to a board room, most men do not sit on boards. But it is a human right to be seen and acknowlegded as a competent person, not biased by stereotyping of your sex. Not to be seen, could be indirect, gender based discrimination Benjamin Disraeli (former liberal British PM ) once said: ”Genuin politics is to have power, and to distribute it”. I believe this is what we did through the gender balance regulations – to a certain extent. Follow suit !


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