29 October 2010
1) New Norwegian phenomenon, the golden skirts
2) ‘Golden skirts’ dominating in the boardrooms
A gender representation law that required all public limited companies to compose their boards with at least 40% of each sex was introduced in Norway (January 2006) with a two year implementation period. Cathrine Seierstad has been investigating the effects of the gender representation law on corporate boards.
An article in the Norwegian national newspaper E24 (19.10.2010) focused on findings from her research (with Tore Opsahl). While the law has successfully challenged the under-representation of women on boards of public limited companies, and made the boards more balanced in terms of gender, findings show that the maximum number of boards that a single director is part of has doubled from 2002-2009. This has led to the concentration of the benefits associated with prominence to a select few. Moreover, a select group of women have become the most prominent directors. The repeated use of a select few women creates a "Golden Skirts" phenomenon. Since this benefit is only enjoyed by a few directors and associated with a particular gender, the intention of the Norwegian Government in creating a more equal setting can be questioned. On the other hand, this phenomenon can be beneficial in terms of new women role models.
Visit her web page with Tore Opsahl at http://www.boardsandgender.com/