Greenland busy implementing much-debated gender quota

KNI and Royal Arctic Line are among the state-owned companies to experience massive board changes

May 30th, 2014 4:01 pm| by admin

Greenland’s government has enforced scores of changes in the boardrooms of the country's publicly-owned companies to ensure that 50 percent of the positions are occupied by women.

The enforcement, in adherence with the gender quota legislation that came into effect at the turn of the year, has been the subject of much debate and critique despite its overwhelming political support.

“There have been so many dramatic leadership changes that it has created a great deal of unease and concern,” Michael Böss, a lecturer at Aarhus University specialising in Greenlandic affairs, told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

According to Böss, the criticism hinges on the new board members, both women and men, who lack the experience necessary to assume the important positions. Another argument is that Greenland should focus on its socio-economical issues rather than its gender policies.

READ MORE: Danish parliament gives Greenlanders the right to know the identity of their fathers

Dangerous cocktail
Among the larger state-owned companies to experience radical boardroom upheaval are the trading conglomerate KNI, which changed almost half of its board, and Royal Arctic Line, where everyone bar one member was replaced.

“These are large companies that are essential to Greenland’s economy,” Lise Lyck, a lecturer at Copenhagen Business School, said. “And when you mess around with these boards, you mess with the entire foundation of Greenland’s economy, which is dangerous – particularly now.”

The gender quota law was proposed last year by Siumut, the party of Greenland’s prime minister Aleqa Hammond, to “ensure that everyone, whatever gender, is given the opportunity to take part in business life”.

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