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Women On Board: Norway’s Experience Shows Compulsory Quotas Work

Many European countries are now looking to emulate Norway’s quota for female board members, introduced first in 2004. A new report takes a look at the effects of that legislation six years on and concludes that many of the original arguments against the measure have not been borne out.

When Norway introduced tough new laws back at the beginning of 2004 aimed at increasing the number of women on company boards, the naysayers said it would lead to disaster. Companies would be forced to appoint less-qualified people as board members just because of their gender, and there would be widespread resentment among male colleagues and business owners.

Six years after the introduction of the 40 percent quota, the great debate the law unleashed has died down completely. The quota has been successful and has gained broad acceptance. What is more, the caliber of women on company boards is just as high if not higher than their male counterparts. But this has only been achieved because, after a period of voluntary compliance that yielded few results, the government introduced tough sanctions for companies that failed to implement the quota. Continue reading

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