Global Warming and the Female Climate

Sweden works proactively with issues related to equality in many ways. How sad it is that this has had little effect on the distribution of men and women in company boards and in leading positions. Among the listed companies in Sweden, only about 18% of the board members are women. Very few of them are chairmen. Maud Olofsson our Minister for Enterprise and Energy, is rather pleased that at least the number of women in the boards of the companies owned by the government has increased (33%). Almost 100% of all the CEO’s in the listed companies in Sweden are men. If you want to know exactly who is on what board, have a look at the yearly report “Styrelser och revisorer”.
Since research has demonstrated that companies with a mixed board do better in financial terms, it is good to know that there are several organisations supporting the equality movement related to leadership. One is the journal Passion for Business, where their first issue 2009 contains a list of 549 women (I’m among them) who are both suitable and willing to become board members. Another is Styrelsekvinnor, where companies can find a whole database with names. A third is Women's Business Research Institute.

It has also been recognised that organisations supporting the development of innovation systems need to address this issue, why regions such as Skåne and Västra Götaland have made special efforts. Also the Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems has contributed to the debate with a study on the effect of equality programs the last 25 years. The Nordic Council has also focused on this topic a long time.

Information technology can also be of good help. StyrelseAkademien in Stockholm has developed a virtual board room, where boards can gather information relevant to their work. Apparently women are very much in favour of this kind of solution and keen to get started. The men are more reluctant, and are not too fond of the tracking mechanism showing who has read what documents and who are active in debates.

Maybe we need more such tools. Especially when looking into combining gender issues with environmental aspects, as Gender and Climate Change and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Maybe there is a need for developing our taxonomies such as the one used by Catalyst to list gender-related research. The Nordic conference on equality, gender and climate changes on February 2 2009, could be a good place to start looking.

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