In my post “Diversity Quotas for Boards: What’s happening now,” I shared some information about what different countries in Europe and North America are doing in regard to board quotas. I limited what I included there for the sake of brevity, but I did want to share more of this valuable data. Here’s an expanded look at what’s happening now with board quotas:
“Women’s share of board seats ranges from 7.9% in Portugal (PSI-20 index) to 18.5% in Germany (DAX index) to 22.8% in the United Kingdom (FTSE 100 index) to 35.5% in Norway (OBX index).” (via Catalyst.org)
In Germany, “public boards like those that oversee hospitals and charities will need to be 50 per cent female by 2018”, said Erin Anderssen in the Globe and Mail (12 March 2015). See more on German board quotas in The Higher Learning.
Norway- As of 2011, a large number of companies had delisted from the Norwegian stock exchange to avoid having to comply with Norwegian board quotas. Many Norwegian executives who objected, though, now support it, having experienced the boardroom discussion being elevated by breaking up the status quo with women. As reported in The Telegraph (13 Jan 2015), “Norway…tops the ranking of 20 countries across three regions, with 35.5pc female representation on the boards of its OMX-listed companies.”
In the article “Do quotas form corporate boards help women advance” in Chicago Booth Magazine, Alina Dizik writes about the progress made in Norway: “Thanks to the quota, companies have closed the pay gap between female and male board members, and they are recruiting more qualified female executives to their boards.”
Finland is the leader behind Norway with women representing 29.9% of the board directors.
France, as Norway, also called on its companies to reach the 40% quota by 2017 and has achieved nearly 30% already, with 29.7% of board seats held by women.
Sweden has 28.8% women in board seats for its listed companies.
Belgium is in 5th position with 23.4%.
Britain- According to The Guardian (3 February 2015) Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, “has raised the spectre of Europe imposing mandatory quotas on the number of female directors in British boardrooms, as he pushes for Britain’s largest businesses to swiftly appoint more women to senior positions.” Cable Said: “Our target of 25% women on boards by 2015 is in sight. However the threat of EU mandatory targets remains a reality if we do not meet it.”
Spain is at about 18.2%.
Portugal has the lowest number of women on boards in Europe at 7.9%.
“Women’s share of board seats ranges from 3.1% in Japan (TOPIX Core 30 index) to 9.5% in India (BSE 200 index) to 19.2% in Australia (S&P/ASX 200 index).” (via Catalyst.org)
Australia is leading in the Asia Pacific region with 19.2%, while Japan is lagging with 3.1%. India and Hong Kong are near the 10% threshold. According to Deloitte, “There are currently no gender quotas for women on boards or in senior management positions.” However, as of 1 January 2011, companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange are required to adopt and publicly disclose a diversity policy, among other criteria.
China, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand currently have no gender quotas for women on boards or in senior management positions. Diversity policies and guidelines have been introduced in Hong Kong (10.2%) and New Zealand.
India is at 9.5% and passed the Companies Bill in December 2012 to improve corporate governance practices throughout India, requiring that public companies must have at least one woman director and a minimum of three directors in total.
Malaysia approved a policy mid-year 2011 for corporate companies to achieve at least 30% representation by women in decision making positions in the private sector to promote gender equality. “Women must comprise 30 percent of boards and senior management positions of public and limited liability companies, in which there are greater than 250 employees, by 2016” according to Deloitte.
New Zealand & Australia- Few stocks and securities exchanges have adopted requirements “to include direct references to gender or diversity as possible selection criteria for board members and, more generally, require companies to disclose in annual reports whether they maintain a diversity policy and, in some cases, the gender composition of their boards.” New Zealand and Australia are paving the way forward.
Brazil is contemplating compulsory quotas for state and mixed-capital enterprises, targeting 40 % representation of women on boards by 2022.
Unless otherwise noted, data was pulled from Catalyst. 2014 Catalyst Census: Women Board Directors. New York: Catalyst, 2015. Click here for more.
Thanks also to Deloitte for their annual “Women in the boardroom: A global perspective” report. The 2013 report is cited in this article, and their efforts to track and report this data are appreciated.