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Norway recruits women to company boards

"A better gender balance will secure improved utilization of women's qualifications, which in turn will lead to better strategic decision-making and enhanced profitability," states the Norwegian government. Many Norwegian corporations are thus required by law to have a minimum of 40 percent women on their boards.

25/10/2006 :: State Secretary Karin Yrvin in the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased with the developments since the 2004 law change regarding the rules for board composition in Norwegian public limited companies came into effect. After the board elections for 2006, there are 100 new women on board.

"It is really gratifying that we have 100 more women on the company boards after this year's election. We are heading in the right direction, but the election committees will be busy ahead of next year's general meetings. We have a long way to go before we reach the goal of 40 percent women on the boards," Yrvin said.

From 1 January 2004 the rules for board composition in public limited companies changed. Among the board members there has to be a minimum share of each sex, approximately 40 percent. The system of gender quotas was implemented 1 January 2006. New corporations have to fulfil the requirements from day one, while those founded before the law came into place have two years to meet the 40 percentage mark.

Today, approximately 30 percent of the public limited companies have fulfilled the stipulations, and there is still a shortage of 545 women to meet the goal. However, the percentage of companies with no women on the board has decreased since last year. Information from Statistics Norway shows that the elected female board members are often younger and better educated than their male colleagues.

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State Secretary Karin Yrvin in the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased that 100 new women have been elected in 2006.Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry

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