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More women in board rooms

More women in board rooms

Women in leading positions were promoted by both The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the world´s largest wealth fund. WTO appointed its first female director general and the Norwegian Wealth Fund put pressure on companies to globally increase the number of women on boards.

Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, once rejected by the Trump administration, was unanimously elected Director General of the World Trade Organization. She was congratulated by leaders around the world including by another strong woman, Christine Lagarde, Head of the European Central Bank and former head of the International Monetary Fund.

Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and the first African to lead WTO where she earlier has worked for 25 years as a development economist. She is a member of several boards, among them Twitter´s.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said it wants more women on boards and in managements. The fund, that with USD 1.3 trillion is the world´s largest, wants the companies it invests in globally to increase the number of women on their boards. If they have fewer than 30% women on the board, they should set targets, according to a new position paper, Reuters reported.

The fund has shares in around 9 200 companies worldwide. As the first country in the world, Norway 2003 introduced a gender quota, requiring listed and other big companies to have 40% women on their boards.

The fund will vote against appointments to the nomination committees of companies that do not have at least two women on the board.

“We will start with developed markets and at companies where women are underrepresented, at large and mid cap companies in the US and Europe,” Smith Ihenacho, the fund’s chief governance and compliance officer, told Reuters.

Last year the fund voted against the nomination committees of 16 companies in Europe and the US because they had all-male boards.


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