Feature Article - FACTBase Bulletin 58 - Gender in the Boardroom: Learnings from world-leader Norway


To quota or not to quota has long been the question. The Committee for Perth’s latest FACTBase Bulletin explores this question, authored by a world-renowned expert, Professor Morten Huse. It found that setting quotas for women on boards isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to achieving gender equity, societal sustainability and well-being.

The Committee for Perth’s latest FACTBase Bulletin, Gender in the Boardroom: Learnings from world-leader Norway, found that if quotas are implemented, they must be accompanied by other initiatives, including high-profile gender champions, of both sexes, who can actively advocate and engage with the local political and business landscape.

Professor Huse released the research at the Committee’s public Perth in Focus lunch and was accompanied by panellists, non-executive directors Diane Smith-Gander and Gene Tilbrook, academic Dr Linley Lord and CEO Chris Sutherland. The lunch provided attendees with some thought provoking ideas.

Some key takeaways from the event included:

  • Implementing quotas for the percentage of women on boards isn’t the silver bullet for gender equity.
  • Voluntary action to get women on boards in Norway didn’t work, it took legislative change.
  • Norway started the gender equity snowball rolling with other countries followed their lead. Some of these introduced quotas with fines for non-compliance, while others didn’t use quotas as a means to achieve gender parity on boards.
  • When implementing quotas, there has to be an understanding about national and regional differences in relation to gender and social cultures, and board and governance systems.
  • Any policy initiatives should build on an in-depth understanding of why women are under-represented on boards and in the C-suite.
  • Quotas need to be framed in an adequate institutional setting to ensure gender equality penetrates all levels of society, rather than at the leadership levels of top firms.
  • When discussing gender equity, we must move beyond stereotypes and focus on the facts and reality.
  • We can all be gender equity champions by doing something that we strongly believe in to advance the cause.

Read the FACTBase Bulletin here.

Learn more about the Filling the Pool project here.

Other articles from Insight, April 2018 (view email newsletter):