• Sweden's news in English
 

Business head slammed for 'anti-woman' quotes

Published: 10 Feb 2014 17:03 GMT+01:00

 
Jens Spendrup, the 69-year-old head of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt näringsliv), made headlines in Sweden after an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR) at the weekend. 
 
During the chat, he said that there should "absolutely not" be a quota of women in a company board and that women did not make good business people in general. 
 
When asked if he was a feminist, he responded in the negative and added that he was against all kinds of "isms" besides humanism.
 
Following his comments, several commentators have lashed out at Spendrup for his remarks, including Peter Norman, Sweden's financial markets minister.
 
"My understanding is that they are very narrow in their searches. For example, if you have a listed company, I think it's always better to have a wider spread of competencies and experiences on the board," he told the TT news agency on Monday.
 
"But you often look for a conventional image, preferably an experienced CEO from a listed company, and so on. Of course, it's good to have someone like that on the board, but not everyone needs to be one."
 
Others have taken aim at Spendrup's comments about the lack of competent women available for senior management positions, including Anna Ryott, the managing director of Swedfund, which is a state-owned venture capital firm specializing in investments in emerging markets.
 
"I don't understand that argument," she told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.
 
"It would have been interesting to know what criteria the boards and nominating committees look for when they're looking for competency. Better equality in management is incredibly important for Swedish enterprise. This is about being an attractive employer for young talent... there are even studies that show an increased equality gives better profitability."
 
She added that such a view of female competency is "dated and old-fashioned".
 
Spendrup, who used to be the head of Spendrups brewery, has refused to comment on the storm, but the organization's spokesman said that the criticism against the CEO is taken out of context.
 
"This was a very loaded question but if you listen to what he says, it's about how women historically haven't headed companies in the same way as men and that this is something from which we're still seeing the consequences when it comes to women in positions of power," spokesman Peter Isling told media trade publication Resume. 
 
"Jens expressed his frustration that it's going slowly and gave an explanation of why. This doesn't mean he is happy with how things look, rather the opposite. He is truly engaged in this issue and the last three manager recruitments that he has been involved have all ended with jobs going to women."
 
The confederation is Sweden’s largest business federation representing 49 member organizations and 60,000 member companies with over 1.6 million employees. Spendrup has been at the helm since 2013.

TT/The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat
Photo: TT

Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat

Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against US tech giant Apple claiming that its technology was used in iPhones and other wireless devices despite a lapsed licencing agreement. READ  

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest
Photo: TT

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest

Up to a 1000 Swedes turned out to form a human shield around Stockholm's synagogue on Friday as a protest against extremism. Here are some images from the event. READ  

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest
Photo: TT

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest

A human shield of up to a 1000 Swedes staged a protest against extremism outside the Stockholm synagogue Friday in response to the Copenhagen shootings earlier this month in which two people died. READ  

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

980
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se