Business Leaders Still Predominantly Male

A recent article in The Economist discusses legislation that is being passed, mainly in Europe, that promotes greater female representation in board rooms and executive committees. European countries that have passed such legislation include Norway, which passed a law in 2003 that required all publicly listed firms to reserve 40% of seats on their boards for women by 2008, and France and Spain, which have both passed similar legislation. Earlier this month, the European Parliament passed an EU-wide resolution that called upon member states to require that at least 40% of seats on listed companies' supervisory boards be reserved for women by 2020. This legislation is in response to a lack of female chief-executives in large companies that persists even in the world's wealthiest countries. In the US, for example, only 15 chief executives of Fortune 500 countries are women while in France, none of their CAC 40 share index firms have chief executives that are women. The chart to the right conveys this by showing the percentage of board members and percentage of the executive committee that were women in 2010. Norway had the highest percentage of female board members at a little over 30% while it fell somewhere between 5 and 15% for most other countries.

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