Norwegian government considers boardroom quota law

The Norwegian government has threatened to close down companies that fail to meet proposed boardroom quotas for women.

The new coalition government in Oslo is considering the introduction of a law which would require 40% of boardroom posts to be filled by women.

The previous regime drew up the law, which it threatened to apply if companies failed voluntarily to meet minimum quotas by 1 July. Only 20% of Norway’s 590 publicly listed firms comply with the quotas.

“It’s not going fast enough,” Karita Bekkemellem, Norway’s minister for family and children told the BBC.

“I don’t want to wait 20 or 30 years until sufficiently intelligent men finally appoint women to the boardrooms. I wish to establish, from 1 January 2006, a system of sanctions which makes it possible to break up companies.”

Employers condemned the proposed law, arguing it could force some companies to relocate outside Norway.

“The closure of a company is a punishment out of all proportion to the offence,” said Sigrun Vaageng, the head of Norway’s employers’ association. “In theory, the government can break up a company because it is missing a single woman.”

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