Parade.com featured an article in the Economy section on June 13, 2010 (excerpted here):
“A full 40% of board members at major Norwegian companies are women—they have to be, by law. In 2002, the Norwegian parliament gave companies six years to comply with the new mandate. Spain has introduced a quota requiring that women comprise 40% of boards by 2015. Italy, France, and Belgium are considering similar bills….
Today, 15% of board members at top U.S. companies are women, compared with an average of 9.7% in the European Union and less than 5% in Asia.”
Given the success or lack thereof with affirmative action in the US, I cannot imagine any sort of quota being imposed here – ever. In past business discussions, when the topic of “8A companies” (minority/veteran/woman owned-businesses earn a 5% government work set aside if they are an 8A company) arises, it’s not uncommon for men to admit that they’ve used the 8A route to gain advantage for their own companies by placing their wife in a leadership position with more than 51% of the privately held stocks. I have never seen affirmative action programs or minority programs succeed in the way they were intended. Instead they seem to foster jealousy from excluded groups, who then try to exploit the “opportunities” for themselves.
I wonder what happens in Norway and other countries when the quota can’t be filled with qualified women (or perhaps they can?) Scandinavia ranks up there as being the most equal of all nations (maternity and paternity leaves exceed a year!) so it surprises me that these nations have to impose legislation to increase the women on their boards instead of it happening naturally.
I suspect that if they have to move a female into a board position solely on the basis of gender, it will likely backfire (unless a glut of qualified women blocked by the proverbial “glass ceiling” are readily available ).
There has to be a better way than for government to pass legislation to mandate corporate structure!
I don’t think there will be any quotas for female executives in the US in my lifetime! According to workplace expert, Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women’s Forum: “Companies should be free to make decisions on their own, and the marketplace will reward or punish them based on those decisions.”
I hope that companies choose to promote or demote based on merit and accomplishments and not one’s gender. While it may be true, it seems that legislation should be overridden by sanity in business. People who achieve deserve to be promoted – regardless of gender, ethnicity or culture!
What do you think?
Have a nice weekend!
Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.
Copyright Carol Dekkers 2010…