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Old 01-09-2006, 08:24 PM   #1
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In Norway, a woman's place is in the boardroom

http://business.guardian.co.uk/print...108725,00.html

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The 500 companies listed on Norway's stock exchange face being shut down unless they install women on their boards over the next two years in a radical initiative imposed by a government determined to help women break through the "glass ceiling".
I worry about the social impact of this. First of all there needs to be an environment that enables women to juggle family and work well; it's a change in women's mindset as well as men's.

What do you think?

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Old 01-09-2006, 08:28 PM   #2
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I think that such quotas are absurd, but if that is what people really want and theres nothing stopping them what else can be done?
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:35 PM   #3
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I agree, foray. Support, the change in mindset, the desire to be there. It all has to be present. I still wonder though, when a woman can decide for herself what she wants to do, not to have it dictated by men or other women.
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:38 PM   #4
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It's a form of affirmative action.

The cold, heart reality is that CEOs are largely male, largely white, largely old. Actually they are overwhelmingly male. This is a phenomenon also seen in top law firms, investment banking firms and so on. Women are not stupider than men, and they are not held back from prestigious schools and programs. But these workplaces are still old boys' clubs and they are still either subtly or overtly hostile to women progressing their way to the top.

Just like African Americans are still underrepresented minorities in American top colleges and therefore given substantial boosts in the admissions process. Also seen in professional programs like law and medicine. In the end I don't know that affirmative action is correct, but until we have a more equitable society and a more proportional representation, what can be done? This is one thing.
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:43 PM   #5
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But affirmative action enforced by government against a non-government business?

If they put the vote to shareholders and owners on a case to case basis then sure but having mandatory quotas just seems like overregulation.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
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As a woman majoring in business communications with a concentration on computers and information technology, I honestly don't like it. I've heard from so many acquantainces and professors "oh, so-and-so would LOVE to have you on their staff!" On the outside, yeah, it's a great compliment, but what they mean is "omg, a WOMAN that works in COMPUTERS?!?!? let's be sure to hire her or give her a break simply b/c then we can parade around a WOMAN working in COMPUTERS."

I know we still have a long way to go as far as attitudes regarding women in business. Pushing for close to 50/50 rations basically dismisses the actual issue and implements a quick fix that looks good from the outside.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:17 PM   #7
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But it's not just attitudes.

Women are stalled and in effect punished by taking maternity leave. Not only that, but there was an interesting study done in the Toronto Biglaw firms in the last couple of years where they asked the women associates how they felt about continuous seniority time being applied. So basically, if you took off 6 months to have a baby, should those 6 months be counted as if you were still at work, for promotions, salary increases, partnership track purposes. You know what the findings were? The women themselves voted against it! Their reasoning was that getting married and having children are lifestyle choices and if you choose them, you should not be expected to have a helping hand at your workplace. Other women who choose not to have children should be given a leg up for being present 70 hours a week while you were off on diaper duty.

So it's not really only attitudes anymore, it's a much more complex reason for why there are relatively few women at the top.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
But it's not just attitudes.

Women are stalled and in effect punished by taking maternity leave. Not only that, but there was an interesting study done in the Toronto Biglaw firms in the last couple of years where they asked the women associates how they felt about continuous seniority time being applied. So basically, if you took off 6 months to have a baby, should those 6 months be counted as if you were still at work, for promotions, salary increases, partnership track purposes. You know what the findings were? The women themselves voted against it! Their reasoning was that getting married and having children are lifestyle choices and if you choose them, you should not be expected to have a helping hand at your workplace. Other women who choose not to have children should be given a leg up for being present 70 hours a week while you were off on diaper duty.

So it's not really only attitudes anymore, it's a much more complex reason for why there are relatively few women at the top.

Yeah, the whole maternity thing is another issue altogether for me, but I like to look at it from a slightly different angle: as a woman I don't feel I deserve any different than my male collegues. A woman getting 6 months paid leave and all the works is GREAT, but then it's only fair that a man who chooses to help raise the child is allowed the same thing. Unfortunately with this issue, I've see the stigma go both ways - men choose NOT to stay home and help out for extended periods of time because everyone else will see them as weak and not competitive enough.

I don't think anyone, male or female, deserves a break that the other sex would not get (with one exception - women who choose to go back to work shortly after giving birth need breaks to breast feed or breast pump).
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