Kønskvoter i danske bestyrelser: Hvordan bør en kønskvote for bestyrelser udformes i dansk ret, og hvordan påvirker en øget andel af kvindelige bestyrelses-medlemmer selskabernes performance?

Thor Weis Hougaard & Anders Lorentz Münter

Student thesis: Master thesis


In 2003, Norway passed a new law that required that at least 40 % in the board of directors should consist of each gender. Since then, many other European countries – Belgium, France, Iceland and Spain – have passed similar laws on this subject, while other countries, such as Denmark, have at least started to discuss it. The reasons behind this legislation are grounded in the idea of equal opportunity and based on the fact that the board of directors, in particular, is traditionally dominated by men. Proponents also suggest that diversity in the board of directors may have a positive effect on the performance of a company. In Denmark, the recent change of government has opened up the possibility for such quotas, since the ruling parties consider proposals on gender quotas in listed companies. Due to this debate about gender quotas in the board of directors, nationally as well internationally, it is relevant to examine how such a quota could be framed in Denmark, and how female board members may affect a company’s performance as measured by the profitability measures. The examination includes present Danish regulations and a comparative study of gender quota regulations across Europe. The findings include which company form is to be subject to regulations, which percentage the quota should be, the period of transition, and which measures are to be imposed in Denmark. Furthermore, a multiple linear regression analysis of how female board members affect the company performance as measured by the profitability measures is carried out. Our findings suggest that if a quota is to be introduced in Denmark, the legislator ought not to make a distinction between company forms. Rather the decision about which companies are to fall under the legislation should be based on the size of a company’s workforce, which we suggest should count at least 35 employees. The quota is to be at least 40% of each gender, and the employee directors are not to be included in this percentage. When electing employee directors both genders are to be included in the elected members, which also is the case when the board of directors only consist of two or three members. The transition period is to be five years, and the sanction for non-compliance with the law should be compulsory dissolution of the company. Our multiple linear regression analysis shows that there is a significantly positive effect on the EBITDA margin and the cash flow margin. The analysis is based on data from the 963 largest companies in Denmark and includes the key figures from the period 2005-2010. In spite of the fact that our findings are positive, it is not possible to transfer these results to what the actual results of such a quota could be, because the conditions for the election to the board of directors are changed due to a quota. Among other thing the change will result in a great demand for women in the board.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages126