Sunday 21 January 2018

Swedes bid to put women on boards

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Photo: Getty Images
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Photo: Getty Images

Johan Ahlander

Sweden's minority centre-left coalition will introduce legislation next month to force listed companies to increase the number of women they have in their boardrooms.

The coalition of Social Democrats and Greens led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has long threatened to introduce legislation unless the gender balance in company board rooms improved in a country which likes to consider itself as a champion of gender equality.

The bill will stipulate that by 2019 at least 40pc of board members of listed firms should be women.

It will need support from the centre-right opposition, which has so far been sceptical about legislation, to become law.

The proportion of women on boards in Sweden has risen in the last decade and stood at 32pc last year.

In 2003, Norway became the first country in the world to impose a gender quota. It required nearly 500 firms, including 175 companies listed on the Oslo stock exchange, to raise the proportion of women on their boards to 40pc.

Similar laws have been, or are in the process of being, introduced in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

In Ireland, the 30% Club, which was officially launched in January 2015, campaigns to increase the representation of women in senior management and board roles in Irish business through voluntary actions. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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