Gender quota put women on top of the pay scale 

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Board room

 

After female quotas were introduced in publicly traded joint-stock companies (ASA companies) in Norway, more women are among the companies’ highest paid individuals, and more women are managers.

Affirmative action forced ASA-companies to increase the share of female board members. This has led to more women being recruited for management positions.

“Generally speaking I am against affirmative actions, but in certain situations it is an efficient tool in order to implement change. It has definitely been in this case,” says CEO Heidi Skaaret in Storebrand.

Sissel Jensen, an associate professor at Norway’s Business School, has studied the effect the female quotas have had on equality in the business sector.

“Our work shows that the share of female managers at the top level of ASA-companies have been doubled as a result of this reform,” Jensen explains. “Top level” refers to the five highest paid individuals in the company.

In December 2005, the government decided that all publicly traded joint-stock companies (ASAs) would be represented by both sexes at a 40 percent minimum. All companies that became ASAs after 2006 had to put the new law into effect from day one. Exisiting ASAs were given three years to fulfill the quota.

The introduction of the law lead to strong debates. From 2002, when the reform was first agreed on, to 2011, the number of ASAs were reduced by almost half and converted into joint-stock companies that were not affected by the new law. Companies argued that they would not be able to find women who had the right qualifications for the positions.

Now, however, results show that today’s ASA companies have female chairs who are more qualified than before the reform was introduced. “Therefore, the argument that it was not possible to find women with qualifications fell through,” Jensen points out.

The professor thinks that the reform has contributed to more female managers because of the boards’ influence on who gets hired for management positions.

 

Source: The Norway Post

 

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