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Slow pace of boardroom equality 'deplorable'

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10:51 CEST+02:00
Almost 25 percent of company management boards in Sweden are made up of women, with a new report showing that the numbers are on the rise for the first time in years. Critics say the stats are still not good enough.

The annual women index study conducted by the Second AP fund (Andra AP-fonden) revealed that the percentage of women on boards has risen from 22.3 percent to 24.7 percent in the space of a year. 

It marks the first time in three years that the proportion of women on boards has increased.

"It is gratifying but one wonders why the increase has not been even greater when you consider all the work that has been done on this matter," Eva Halvarsson, CEO of the Second AP Fund, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

Although the percentage of women on boards has increased the figures are lower for those holding management roles. In 2010 the figure was 13.8 percent and has now spiked to 18.4 percent.

Halvarsson added that in some industries women represented over 30 percent of those in management positions.

The report predicted that it would take about 30 years before boards are comprised of equal numbers of men and women. For an even split of management positions it is likely to take 48 years.

"It's deplorable when you look at the trend but I have an optimistic approach that it can happen faster," Halvarsson told DN.

The percentage of women holding the role of chairperson of the board has increased slightly from 4.3% to 4.8% while the number of women in the position of chief executive officer (CEO) shifted by a single percentage point to 5.6%.

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Sweden does not currently have any laws requiring a quota of female board members. Finance minister Anders Borg has hinted in the past  about introducing legislation to encourage gender equality may be introduced.

Nordic neighbours Iceland and Norway have quotas where 40 percent of public listed company board members have to be women. 

The Local/pr

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