Swedish minister open to boardroom quotas

Swedish minister open to boardroom quotas
Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg has indicated that a law requiring more women in the boardroom is becoming more likely, describing the continuing lack of gender balance in Swedish firms as a "significant problem".

“It is obvious that this is being solved at a very, very slow pace. I think that the arguments against the legislation are gradually eroding and that the reasons for considering legislation have strengthened,” Borg said to the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Borg argued that improvements are “not even close” to what is acceptable and in relation to business leaders arguments against the need for legislation.

The finance minister’s threat comes as the proportion of women in the boardroom in Swedish firms has in fact declined to 2010 levels – 26.4 percent – according to the GMI Ratings 2012 Women on Boards Survey.

Neighbouring Norway became the first country to introduce board gender quotas in 2005. The Norwegian Public Limited Company Act stipulated that both genders should have a 40 percent representation on the board.

The legislation was backed up with the threat of being dissolved for non-compliance with a deadline set at January 2008.

The country is often cited as an example of what can be achieved by a quota-led reform, with the aggregate ratio of women now on boards in Norway at 36.3 percent according to 2012 figures cited by the Financial Times.

The Swedish government has previously preferred a voluntary approach to reform, and no motion has yet been drafted.

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