Record Number of Women Directors in Finnish Listed Companies

2017 was a record breaking year when it comes to women on boards, CEOs, and executive teams in Finnish listed companies. Women’s share of board seats is 27 percent when looking at all listed companies. In large cap companies the number of women on boards is even higher, 33 percent. Over the past nine years the number of women on the corporate boards has more than doubled, reveals the seventh annual Women Directors and Executives Report by the Finland Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy Chief Executive Leena Linnainmaa points out that Finland’s progress is especially meaningful because the record figures have been achieved via companies’ own initiative and self-regulation as opposed to quota legislation. Photograph: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Deputy Chief Executive Leena Linnainmaa points out that Finland’s progress is especially meaningful because the record figures have been achieved via companies’ own initiative and self-regulation as opposed to quota legislation. “Finland’s figures continue to be one of the highest in the EU, and at the same time in the world. Credit should be given to Finland’s business sector, self-regulation, and especially to the corporate governance code”, says Linnainmaa.

When it comes to women CEOs, positive development has taken a bit longer to take place. Even in 2011, none of the CEOs of listed companies were women, and up until 2014, only one woman held a CEO title in a listed company. Over the past 3 years, however, the development has taken big leaps.

“In 2017 women’s share of the CEOs of listed companies rose to a new record level, as 9 out of the 125 listed companies now has a female CEO. Thus, women account for 7.2 percent of the CEO positions today, which is also a good figure in an international comparison”, Linnainmaa explains.

Women’s share in listed companies’ executive teams increased from 18.5 to 21.5 percent between 2012 and 2015 but declined in 2016 to 20.0 percent. In 2017, however, the share of women in executive teams increased significantly from 20.0 to 22.9 percent. The growth took place in listed companies of all sizes, but particularly strong growth was recorded in smaller companies, where women’s share grew from 19.0 to 24.2 percent.

“Promoting women leaders through self-regulation is a strategic target of the Finland Chamber of Commerce. Our goal is that the best people are appointed to leadership positions in Finnish companies, regardless of their gender. Since 2012, the Finland Chamber of Commerce has been organizing a Women Leaders Mentoring Program with the fourth annual course starting”, Linnainmaa concludes.

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