Norway firms nearer quota on women board members

OSLO, July 12 (Reuters) - About 60 percent of Norwegian companies comply with rules designed to get more women into top business jobs six months before firms could be penalised for not meeting the gender quota, a minister said on Thursday.

Companies where women do not make up at least 40 percent of their boards as of Jan. 1, 2008 face the risk of closure, although the government has left open the option to impose fines instead.

A year ago only 30 percent of companies met the requirements. Norway was the first country in the world to decide on such a regulation in 2005.

“Many skilled women have now entered company boards,” Norway’s Children and Equality Minister Karita Bekkemellem said in a statement.

“Yet, there are many that have not met the requirements, which shows there is a need for an all-out effort.”

About 500 Norwegian companies, including firms listed on the bourse and several hundred others, have to obey the quota.