January 12, 2017 / 3:51 PM / 3 years ago

Swedish government drops plans for gender quota bill for company boards

Queen Silvia, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Sweden's Economy Minister Mikael Damberg gesture during their visit at the Elbphilharmonie (Philharmonic Hall) in Hamburg, Germany, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s minority center-left government said on Thursday it would drop a planned bill forcing listed companies to increase the number of female board members which faced defeat after an opposition parliament majority formed against it.

The center-right opposition parties and the populist Sweden Democrats said earlier on Thursday they would oppose the bill and that it should be left to company owners to decide on gender quotas at their firms.

“Gender equality in board rooms is going far too slow, but with this announcement, the government won’t put forward the bill due to the parliamentary situation,” Minister of Enterprise Mikael Damberg told TT News Agency.

The ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens had long threatened to introduce legislation unless the gender balance in company board rooms improved, but opposition from a majority in parliament always left passage of such a bill unlikely.

Only this week, government unveiled plans for a bill stipulating that by 2019, at least 40 percent of board members in listed companies should be women. In 2016 the proportion of women on Swedish boards stood at 32 percent.

Reporting by Johan Sennero; editing by Niklas Pollard

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