1/16/2006

Norwegian Law: 40% or You're Out

Last night I was watching Behind The Story on CTS. Towards the end of the show, the panel briefly discussed the new Norwegian law regarding women. All companies are required to have a board comprised of at least 40% women in two years time or the government will force them to close. Last night's panel hailed the new law as progressive, a good idea. Quota's are sure to solve the problem of inequality in the boardroom.
Let me begin by saying that I reject the flawed notion of "reality" presented above and substitute it with my own, which is much nearer the truth.
I do not for one moment believe that there is a "problem" of inequality in the boardroom, regardless of what percentages may tell you. In point of fact, there are less women in the workforce than men to begin with. I do not have the figures, but I can assure you it is not a 50-50 split. It's not even a 60-40 split, although that may be closer. Some women, shocking as this may sound, actually choose to stay home and look after their children. Others choose to be career moms and some choose to remain childless in order to pursue a full time career to the exclusion of all else. Career moms have to take maternity leave of some kind. It is impossible to go back to work the day after giving birth. I know this because I have given birth. How long a woman chooses to remain at home can vary, but let us assume that the average woman remains at home for the first year of her baby's life. The average family has only two or three kids, so any given woman in the workforce will be at least two or three years behind her male counter part in terms of hours worked (which, I know, I know, is only one way to measure fitness for a promotion). Couple this with the drive required to make it to the top of the pack. I don't have the link, but recall the much talked about study that said 70-80% of all working women would prefer to stay at home wih their children. These women are not going to work themselves into oblivion trying to make CEO. That leaves us with less than 30% of all working women who might be willing to fight the fight and "make it" in a "man's world" (another "reality" which I reject).
Hopefully this gives you an idea of the possible pool female board members are coming from. It's much smaller than the male pool.
As to the idea of quotas, I am against them. A quota is an insult to an individual's intelligence and abilities. If you are hired to fill a quota, essentially you are beiung told that you are filling a position because you have to be there, not because they want you there or because you are skilled enough to have earned the position on your own merits. This notion that women should be handed anything and everything on a silver platter solely on the basis of their GENDER is absolutely repugnant to me.
If you want to make it in your so-called "man's world" honey, then you better slug it out with the rest of them. Otherwise, you haven't made it. You've just had your way given to you, like some kind of whining brat.

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