In March last year the Scottish Government commissioned the Employment Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University to undertake a review to consider how equalities groups can be better represented at board level in the public, private and third sectors. The purpose of the research was to identify how such barriers to equality can be overcome.

The review has recently been published and one of the points that it makes is that women are significantly under-represented on boards. This is not surprising – indeed I previously blogged about this very point last year.

The ERI report highlights various mechanisms that could be used to address the issue. It also makes it clear that this is not simply a UK issue and that other countries also suffer from the same under representation. As you would expect, the percentages of female representation on boards varies drastically from country to country – but one statistic in the report that immediately jumps out is that women make up 40.2% of the boards of private companies in Norway but only 7% in New Zealand! I should point out an important caveat to that though – these figures appear to be based on data that is five years old.

It is interesting to read the different practices that have been adopted to deal with this e.g. some countries have introduced quotas whilst others have non-binding targets or similar instruments. Helpfully, the report contains an annex setting out details of the legal instruments that certain countries have used.

It will be interesting to see which (if any) of the recommendations in this report are adopted by the UK and/or Scottish Government and what effect these have in the future.

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