Nearly half of Finnish companies meet goal of gender equality

Nearly half of Finnish companies meet goal of gender equality

The number of women on the boards of listed companies has been monitored by the Central Chamber of Commerce for several years, based on the composition of boards appointed at the general meetings of shareholders. Nearly half of the companies have met the goal of gender equality when looking at the data for 2022 and all listed companies.

Out of the 130 listed companies surveyed, only 16 would have been outside the scope of the EU's quota directive, which will take effect in 2026. Just over half of the companies that fall under the directive already meet the goal of equal representation of men and women on boards and supervisory boards, as proposed in the directive.

Women's leadership has been promoted successfully through self-regulation in Finland. Alongside this, a climate must be created that encourages women to advance in their careers. According to Ville Kajala, the Central Chamber of Commerce's leading expert, it is important that companies pay attention to women's career paths so that they lead to business leadership positions and CEO positions instead of support functions.

The recommendation of the Corporate Governance Code, which specifies that the board of a listed company should include both genders, is attributed to the increase in the proportion of women on boards. If a listed company does not follow this recommendation, it must justify the deviation publicly.

According to the Central Chamber of Commerce's report, the gender balance of the body responsible for preparing the proposal for the board's composition also matters.

There were clear differences in the survey. As much as 40% of board members were represented by women in companies where the proposal for the board's composition was prepared by a shareholder's committee, and the committee included at least one woman. The proportion of women on boards was 31% when the nomination committee consisted only of men, according to Kajala.

Around 30% of the listed companies have a balanced gender distribution in executive management teams. Equal representation of men and women in an executive team is achieved when the less represented gender accounts for at least 40% of the team.

The findings show that progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in leadership positions. Diversity should be paid more attention in selecting board members and recruiting executive team members. As Ville Kajala stressed on International Women's Day, a supportive environment for women is crucial for women's advancement in their careers.