Casey, C., Skibnes, R. & Pringle, J. K.
Gender, Work and Organization, 18 (6)
Magazine Article
Area of focus: 
New Zealand

This article compares policy strategies implemented in Norway and New Zealand to increase women's participation on corporate boards. It provides historical context to the policies enacted in each country, and contrasts the "soft regulation" of New Zealand, which encourages equal employment opportunities but lacks any legislative accompaniment, with that of Norway, where a mandatory quota of 40 percent female membership was instituted as a requirement for registration on the stock exchange.

The authors interviewed successful female directors in each country, and quote excerpts from these to illustrate convergence and divergence of attitudes between the cultures. Women from both countries agreed that board roles should be appointed on the basis of merit, and that networking was an important aspect of the appointment process which women needed to develop. New Zealand women interviewed were unanimously opposed to the concept of instituting quotas, as they felt it inappropriate for the business context; Norwegian women supported quotas as they felt it was the only way to achieve equality in a male-dominated culture. The article concludes with a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of each strategy.