Norwegian company exodus?

Okayyyy ….

Norway is considering breaking up companies that do not have at least 40% women in top management.

“For a woman to get in a man must get out. It is not difficult to find qualified women.”

That’s a quote from Karita Bekkemellem, Norway’s minister for family and children. The second sentence is interesting, from a business point of view. I find it hard enough to find qualified applicants period, never mind if I’d be forced to choose just from half the potential population.

I also find the first sentence interesting, from a human rights point of view. If I was a man in top management in Norway, I’d not be feeling too comfortable. And if I lost my job because of an imposed gender quota, I would sue the pants off the government for sexual discrimination.

Frankly, if I owned a business in Norway, I’d really consider relocating. This does not sound like a business-friendly environment. And being forced to ditch even a couple senior managers could be a serious blow. At least the minister is being honest and forthright, but she’s presenting what in some cases is a legitimate problem in very stark them versus us language, and that’s bound to backfire.

I also find it interesting that the minister for family and children is the one promoting this law. The fact is that children do best when at least one of the parents is a full-time caregiver. Frankly, women do a better job at that than men. And 80% of the women I’ve met and talked to about this issue say that, given a choice, they’d stay home with their kids until they’re in school.

So why is the minister of family and children pushing this issue, instead of the minister for labor and business? Odd!