by John Hawkins | January 10, 2006 7:14 am
This is like some off-the-wall Scrappleface parody of what’s wrong with feminism and Europe come to life, but, I assure you, it’s not satire:
“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”.
After a week in which the Equal Opportunities Commission in Britain has warned that it would take 40 years for women to break into the ranks of the FTSE 100 in the same way as men, Norwegian companies face a two-year deadline to ensure that women hold 40% of the seats of each company listed on the Oslo bourse. New companies have to comply now with the rules and the government is considering extending the law to family-owned companies as well.
The requirement came into effect at the start of this year after companies were given two years to embrace the demands voluntarily following the passing of the law in 2003. State-owned companies are already obliged to comply and now have 45% female representation on their boards.
The failure of companies to act – about half of the companies on the stock market are estimated to have no women on their boards – has prompted the Norwegian equality minister, Karita Bekkemellem, to take the draconian step of threatening firms with closure.
“From January 1 2006, I want to put in place a system of sanctions that will allow the closure of firms,” she said. “I do not want to wait another 20 or 30 years for men with enough intelligence to finally appoint women.”
So women are going to be appointed to the boards of these companies, not because they deserve it, but because there is a quota that has to be filled or some drunk-with-power feminist wacko in the Norwegian government may actually close the company down?
That’s ludicrous…but what do you expect from a country that actually has an “equality minister?”
Also, let me interject a little reality, unwelcome though it may be for some people, into this talk about a glass ceiling (Some of you may want to plug your ears at this point to protect your ears from the shrieks of feminist agony).
First of all, there may be some women who aren’t getting to the very top because of sexism, but they’re not the majority. You see, the truth is, most women aren’t really held back by a, “glass ceiling,” they’re held back by an anchor tied to them by their umbilical cord. In other words: kids.
Women hear that biological clock ticking in a way that men simply don’t and because of that, they have trouble competing with men for the top slots at work over the long-term. That’s not to say that women can’t work as smart or as hard as men — they can — and they often do.
But, if you’re talking about cracking the highest echelons of upper level management, you’re talking about people who generally have an unbelievable work schedule — and kids cut into it for women in ways that they generally don’t for men.
Men don’t get pregnant and they don’t take maternity leave and that’s a big deal in and of itself. You can’t take 2 or 3 months off in a competitive job environment and not lose ground. Furthermore, even after the woman comes back from having the kid, she’s much more likely than the man to cut back on her hours because she’s consumed with guilt over working 80 hour weeks and hardly seeing her child. Also, if there is a husband and wife and one of them has to take a day off or leave early to pick up the kid, who does it? Usually the woman. Which member of the family usually has more time and energy draining duties at home related to taking care of the kid? The mother.
Sure, there may be exceptions to the rules. The house hubby, the woman who never has kids because it would get in the way of the job, the workaholic mom, etc., etc., but they are exceptions, not typical. That’s why the boards of Norway’s — and for that matter America’s — companies aren’t crawling with women: a large percentage of them decided that being a mom was more important than making it to the top of the heap at work.
Hat tip to Vox Popoli for the story.
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