More Danish boardroom jobs going to women: DI

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More Danish boardroom jobs going to women: DI
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

Danish legislation on equal numbers of men and women in management has been a good framework for development, says the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI).


Over the past four years, several boardroom and management positions have gone to women, writes

More women are entering boardrooms and management at Danish companies, according to a new DI analysis. 

In 2013, a new law was introduced requiring the 1,400 largest Danish companies to set targets for the proportion of women on their boards and to develop a policy to increase numbers of women in management.

Four years later, the government has now launched an evaluation process to investigate whether the legislation has led to a more equal gender composition in corporate management and on boards.

Ahead of that evaluation, DI has mapped out the development of women in Danish top positions since 2012. The survey shows a clear positive development.

The proportion of women elected to boards in listed companies has increased by 70 percent since 2012. At the time, just under 10 percent of board members were women, while that figure is today around 16-17 percent.

23 percent of all management positions in the private sector are currently occupied by women, while women comprise 33 percent of staff in total.

Today, in the large listed companies, or large cap companies, women comprise 26.4 percent of board members elected at AGMs.

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Charlotte Rønhof, deputy director at DI, is pleased to see the increase. She emphasises that the Danish legislation on the issue provides the basis to further the development.

“It is worth noting that Norwegian companies, who have had mandatory quotas for women on boards for the past ten years, have not got more female chief executives. Meanwhile, in Denmark we can celebrate the fact that the proportion of women has increased - both in corporate management and in boardrooms,” said Rønhof.

Long before it became mandatory by law in Denmark, Radiometer, which makes measuring equipment for the health sector, actively worked to ensure its top positions were filled men and women in equal numbers.

“We are conscious of the fact that we like diversity. For us, diversity is not only about gender, but it’s a good place to start. The more different we are, the better we function as a team,” said Henrik Schimmell, CEO at Radiometer.

The company is a good example of how things are headed in the right direction when it comes to distributing top positions in Denmark more equally between genders.

Even though more women are occupying positions on boards as well as in management, Denmark has not yet reached the finish line, writes DI. Rønhof emphasises that there are other aspects that are important in getting more women to pursue leadership careers.

“It remains important to get more women to choose an education aimed at a career in the private sector and that women leave more parental leave and other fixed-term duties in the home to their partners, the DI deputy director said.

At Radiometer, CEO Schimmell believes the law on setting targets for more women in Danish boardrooms is a good tool and that it sends a positive signal. 

He is not a supporter of quotas that force companies to comply, saying that competency should always precede factors such as gender.

Schimmell says that in his view, equality is a long-term process that starts at recruitment and continues with the development of talents, where equal numbers of men and women should be identified and matured for future leadership positions. 

“When we look at the total talent pool in the company, it is important that we constantly consider the mix of genders and in that way ensure that we always have a diverse group available when we recruit internally for top positions,” the CEO said. 

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