Nordic women get a shot at boardroom equality

In a world first aimed at bolstering gender equality, Norway’s government adopted a Bill on Friday requiring Norwegian companies to appoint women to at least 40% of positions on their boards of directors.

Private companies will have until the summer of 2005 to voluntarily raise their female representation, after which the Bill, if passed by Parliament, will become law.

Public and semi-public companies will however have to meet the requirement by 2004.

Minister of Children and Family Affairs Laila Daavoey, who initiated the Bill, said the number of women on boards of private Norwegian companies had hardly increased since the government first presented its proposal a year ago.

She said women currently occupied only 7% of such board positions.

While the centre-right government of Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik holds a minority in Parliament, it has expressed confidence that the Bill will be passed.

If so, Norway would become the first country in the world to legislate quotas for women in the boardroom. - Sapa-AFP

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