Speech/statement | Date: 30/10/2019
By Former State Secretary Frida Blomgren (Beijing +25 Regional Review Meeting 29-30 October 2019)
Women's representation in policy- and decisionmaking in Norway.
In Norway, gender equality has been our political goal for decades. We rank number 2 of 149 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report (2018).
I am proud to represent a government where the number of men and women are almost the same, and where the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance are women.
In the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament, 40.8 percent of the MPs are women. At the local level, women make up 39 percent of representatives in municipal councils. In the public sector, there is a majority of women in leading positions.
When it comes to reaching the very top in private business, where many important decisions are made, the situation is quite the opposite.
We find very few women as CEOs in private enterprises. In the 200 largest Norwegian companies, only 1 of 10 of the top leaders are women. And women hold only 22 % of the positions in the executive committees in the 200 largest companies.
We need change at the top management level in the private sector. We need female leaders and role models in business as well as in politics.
A modern, competitive economy needs the best talents, regardless of gender. That is why Norway, in 2003, adopted a new law demanding 40 percent of each sex on the corporate boards of public listed companies. The law entered into force in 2006. This has been an effective mechanism for rapid change.
Unfortunately, the largest private companies have not followed suit to recruit more women to their boards. The proportion of women has remained stable at a lower level. The spill over effect that was expected for companies to recruit more female CEOs also remains to be seen.
To conclude – we all have a job to do, even in the most gender equal countries. It is necessary to work with motivating individuals, business as well as changing structures. New laws must be introduced and sometimes even quotas are necessary.