Monday, 30 September 2013

Gender Diversity on Boards

Wouldn't it be great if getting a better gender mix on boards was indeed critical? But it can't be so in the eyes of those who hold power, otherwise it would already be happening.

In recent years I have come to the conclusion that we will have to be pushed into change, otherwise it will not happen; or will only happen with glacial slowness. It would be great to be proved wrong, though!

Just like humankind being reluctant to leave behind our superstitions, I feel we won't change unless we have to. We will like the new place when we get there, but change is something we don't seek willingly.

Some of you may know that Norway set quotas for all its publicly listed organisations that by 2010 all boards would need to be gender diverse. This meant that boards must contain at least 40% women; or 40% men on female-dominated boards. Following the stock exchange rule change came into effect in 2010, apparently many companies decided that instead of compying, they would either move their head offices, or they would return to private ownership, rather than comply. What a fascinating response!

Norway has over 40% women on the boards of publicly listed companies. There are studies which have found that, since 2010, the financial reliability of publically listed organisations in Norway have increased. It sounds as though that improvement may also be bit of a Darwin Award; the idiots have apparently removed themselves from the gene pool.

So I wonder now how much of that fiscal improvement is due to diversity, and how much is due to philosophical alignment?

The actions of those companies who reverted to private ownership also beg a lot of questions: however, at least by their actions they appear to have improved the financial stability of the stock exchange.

  • Reference:  Human Rights Commission (2012).  NZ Census of Women's Participation. Retrieved 25 August 2013 from


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