Campbell K & Bohdanowicz L (2018) Regulation of the gender composition of company boards in Europe: Experience and prospects. In: Aluchna M & Aras G (eds.) Women on corporate boards: An international perspective. Finance, Governance and Sustainability: Challenges to Theory and Practice. Abingdon, Oxon.: Taylor & Francis, pp. 50-66. https://www.routledge.com/Women-on-Corporate-Boards-An-International-Perspective/Aluchna-Aras/p/book/9781138740181
First paragraph: The desire to increase the share of women on corporate boards in Europe has led to the incorporation of voluntary targets into corporate governance codes of best practice in some European countries and the introduction of board gender quota laws in others. Taking affirmative action by imposing a quota can create a critical mass of women on boards that is sufficient to sustain greater numerical equality once the quota is removed (Kogut et al., 2014). A quota law for company boards, set at 40% for each gender, was first proposed in Norway in 2002, to the surprise of many (Bøhren and Staubo, 2016). At the time women held only 9% of board seats
(Ahern and Dittmar, 2012). Passed by the Norwegian Parliament one year later, the quota became mandatory in 2008 and sparked public debate in other countries about the possibility of using quotas to increase the representation of women on corporate boards. The European Commission, with the support of the European Parliament and a number of Member States, decided in 2012 that legislative action was necessary to improve gender balance on corporate boards and put forward the proposal for a Directive that sets a 40% target for the presence of the underrepresented gender among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges by 2020.