Swedish MPs “opposed to board gender quotas”

A majority of Swedish parliamentarians are against legislation calling for the allocation of gender quotas when boards of publicly listed companies are formed.

A survey conducted by Dagens Industry revealed that 176 of the 295 MPs questioned are against the legislation with only 67 in favor. With a parliamentary majority of 175 needed to pass a law it is difficult to see whether the legislation will see the light of day.

The paper noted: “the opposition is huge among the Liberal and Conservative Parties” while the Left and Greens are in support.

The issue has seen a big split among MPs of the ruling Social Democrats. Twenty-nine want the quotas while 22 are in disagreement. With 43 undecided and 45 yet to respond, one can see that there remains a lot of debate.

DI reported that most MPs against the quotas think that competence, and not gender, should determine who sits on boards. But supporters claimed that achieving equality in the board room has moved into second gear and that these companies are simply not keen on having many women on their boards.

The push for quotas began in 2002 when the then Gender Equality Minister Margareta Winberg demanded that 25% of board room seats be filled by women. A year later, according to DI, women accounted for 11.6% of board members.

Sources: Dagens Industri