Gender Quotas on Corporate Boards in Norway: Ten Years Later and Lessons Learned



Norway was the first country to propose gender representation regulations by means of gender quotas for public limited boards. The law was ratified by the Parliament in 2003 and implemented in 2006 with a two-year grace period. In this chapter, we describe some of the contextual factors and processes that were important leading up to the introduction of the quota law in Norway. We contend that the law is, to a certain extent, in line with the history of equality and the use of policies in the labour market in Norway. Moreover, we argue that politicking and a wide range of actors, in particular women politicians, played an important role in the process leading up to the introduction of the law. In addition, we comment on some of the effects, consequences and lessons learned since the introduction, building on the voluminous body of research that has emerged in the post-quota period. In particular, we show that the law is effective as boards are now gender balanced. Nevertheless, the results of creating more diversity (or equality) beyond the boardroom are less clear. Nonetheless, we argue that the most important effects of the quota law in Norway have possibly been those beyond the country’s border. We contend that if the law had not been introduced in Norway, we would most likely not have seen the trends that are now taking place in Europe (and beyond), where the use of quotas and targets have become natural in diversity discussions at both the political and organisational levels.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and ManagementQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business SchoolOsloNorway

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