More women - or else

Aug 11 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Norway has taken the highly controversial step of passing legislation that will force private companies to increase the representation of women at board level or face being closed down – although whether such a threat would ever be carried out seems unlikely.

Last year, the Norwegian parliament passed a bill forcing private firms to have at least 40% women on their boards. Companies had until July to boost participation of their own accord. If the numbers are insufficient, which the state will decide by August 15, sanctions will be applied and they won't just be a slap on the wrist.

"If they don't follow the rules, at the end of the day, they will be dissolved," said Ansgar Gabrielsen, the 50-year-old conservative politician who initiated the law when he was trade and industry secretary.

The Guardian | A woman's place is ... on the board