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January-20-06

New Law in Norway Requires Women to be 40 Percent of Corporate Boards

Publicly traded private companies in Norway are now obliged to have 40 percent of corporate boards to be comprised of women and have been given two years to meet the requirement. Karita Bekkemellem, Minister of Children and Equality, has threatened to dissolve any company that does not do so, reports the New York Times.

While the law currently affects only publicly traded companies (which number 519), the government may also apply it to family-owned companies in the future, reports the Guardian. It was first introduced by Ansgar Gabrielson, a minister in the previous conservative government, as a way of creating diversity. He stated to the Guardian, I saw how board members were picked: they come from the same small circle of people. They go hunting and fishing together, they are buddies.

Public debate over the law has drawn attention to the small numbers of business women in positions of power: women currently make up 16 percent of board membership, despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of students in Norwegian business schools are female, according to the Times.

Media Resources: EOC press release 1/5/06; Guardian 1/11/06; NY Times 1/12/06

   

     

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