Business: Gender Quotas

We have been fighting a battle for decades to bring women to the boardrooms where they are underrepresented, but Norway’s government may have found a long-awaited solution. In 2003, the country instated a quota for publicly traded companies; the boards of these companies had to be 40% female. Though these “gender quotas” generally face opposition in the United States, Norway passed and enforced the legislation. The National Bureau of Economic Research had the chance to explore the effect of the gender quota, 11 years after the initial enactment of the legislation. Their study found that the qualifications of the board members (the women) did not decrease with the quota, a fear that American policymakers have in mind for similar policies. Though the policy was considered effective for women in the boardroom, gains still need to be made for women in other positions in business.

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