Valkyries on Board!

In 2003, Norway legislated a 40% representation of women on corporate boards - a percentage to be met last January. Since then, Norway has taken the lead as the country with 44.2% of women directors. This up from a mere 6% in 2001! Norway is well ahead of second place Sweden with 26.9%. From Britain's Guardian:

Thjømøe and Sætersmoen agree that fresh blood makes for more competent boards. "Decisions are made in the room and not in pre-discussions among people who know each other privately," says Thjømøe, "and that is key because the board has a legal and financial responsibility."

She adds: "Selection committees have become more professional and look wider to find candidates. They are not just selecting the man sitting next to them, who looks exactly like them." But she also points out that this was already happening with the increased focus on corporate governance in recent years.

"The pool to choose candidates from is larger, so there are more opportunities to find good candidates," says Sætersmoen, adding that it is understandable why women had difficulties getting board positions. "When you pick a board member, you want someone you know and trust, so it has to be a person from your network. But for many, their networks don't include a lot of women."

Sætersmoen said the quota has enabled boards to monitor management more closely. "You are getting more independence as you are recruiting from a larger pool. It makes it easier for directors to ask the difficult questions that are necessary in critical situations."


Susan said...

It could never happen here, but if it could....

Kara said...

That's fantastic! It's nice to see so many executive women. Hopefully one day it will happen here too.