Tag Archives: quotas

What women really want: income equality

GlobalPost, March 23, 2012

BERLIN, Germany — On average, it will take a German woman until March 23 to earn as much money as a male counterpart earned last year.

That is the extent of Germany’s alarming gender pay gap.

Women’s organizations will be marking the date, dubbed Equal Pay Day, with some 150 events, including podium discussions, film screenings and flash mobs, to try to highlight the fact that, on average, German women earn about a fifth less than men.

They got some heavyweight backing for their cause earlier this month, when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development berated the country for having a 21.6 percent wage gap, the highest in Europe.

In fact Germany’s own figures put the disparity higher — at 23 percent.

“In no other European country is the wage gap between men and women so strong as in Germany,” the OECD wrote in its report.

It also pointed out that women occupy only 4 percent of top corporate jobs in Europe’s economic powerhouse. In Sweden and France the proportion of women serving on company boards is between 15 and 20 percent, and in Norway, which has introduced a mandatory gender quota, it is close to 40 percent. Continue reading

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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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