Norway tired of lack of female leaders

Female LeadersFormer Cabinet Minister Solveig Horne, Kathrine Olsen Fleet, Deputy CEO of Innovation Norway Toril Bariusdotter Ressem, Anne Dubrau, Neda Afshari-Pour, Madeleine Mowinckel and former Minister of Industry Monica Mæland. Photo: Innovasjon Norge/Astrid Waller

The Government is fed up with lack of female leaders

“It is old-fashioned to be comfortable with poor gender balance in the management group,” the Norwegian Minister for Children and Gender Equality, Linda Hofstad Helleland (Conservatives) exclaims. She sends advice on the matter to 500 Norwegian companies in the form of a brochure.

Helleland, together with Minister of Business Affairs, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Conservatives), today sends advice to 500 companies on how to get more women into the management of the business.

“We have many talented female leaders who show that it is possible to recruit more women into the management, and they deserve to be honoured for that. They are noticed, and they appear to be attractive employers, especially for the adept young employees,” Helleland emphasises.

The following core advice is based on input from the business community itself:

  • Set goals for gender balance at all levels of the company and keep track of the development
  • Formulate job announcements so that both women and men are attracted by it
  • Be innovative when it comes to age and career background when people are sought after
  • Always have both men and women on the list of those who are nominated for the position

Career and family

The companies are encouraged to facilitate family and career combinations. The leader must be a lodestar and expect that fathers have a paternal leave or stay at home with sick children, according to the brochure that the Norwegian Government has prepared. Men and women should also be followed up when returning from parental leave.

“Work on gender balance in top management is not something that one can work with when it suits the company, on the contrary, it must be an integral part of the companies’ recruitment and personnel policy,” Isaksen believes.

The companies are advised to work systematically to find talents of both sexes, follow them up with mentor schemes and provide them with the skills they need to be able to take on a top management job.

There must be demands made of the CEO to ensure that the development heads in the right direction.

Fed up with lame excuses

Only 21 of the 200 largest companies in Norway boasts a female top Leader. In the top management groups in the selfsame companies, the proportion of women is only one-fifth (22%).

The companies are issued with a strict reprimand from Helleland and Isaksen in the introduction of the brochure:

We are fed up by the fact that some of the companies excuse the lack of diversity in the top management with that there are no competent women available for the position, or that these women do not wish for the job. The competent women exist, and the companies must take responsibility to ensure that more people are given the opportunity to work their way up in the system and obtain management experience that way.


  • A mere 22 per cent of a total of 1,629 persons in the top management groups in the 200 largest companies in Norway is female.
  • Of the 200 companies, only 21 have a female CEO.
  • The proportion of females on the Board of Directors is less than one-third (31%).
  • In the 84 companies with statutory requirements for gender balance, the proportion of women on the Board of Directors is 41 per cent, compared to 21 per cent in the 116 companies without such a requirement. In the same companies, the proportion of females in senior management is the lowest in the first-mentioned companies, with 22 per cent compared to 23 per cent.

(Source: CORE Top Leader Barometer)

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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