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How diverse is company leadership in Sweden?

The Local Sweden
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How diverse is company leadership in Sweden?
File photo of CEO and founder of the Allbright Foundation, Amanda Lundeteg. Photo: Allis Nettréus/SvD/TT

There are more women serving on the boards of Sweden's publicly-listed companies than last year, although there is still a way to go when it comes to other kinds of diversity, a new report shows.


More companies with gender-equal leadership than last year

For the first time in four years, the number of publicly-listed companies with gender-equal boards of directors increased, from 27 percent to 28 percent, according to a new report by the Allbright Foundation, which works to increase diversity in the Swedish business sector.

In total, 89 of Sweden's 361 listed companies were on the "green list", an increase of 20 companies on last year. The green list is comprised of companies with no less than 40 percent of men or women represented in leadership.

Companies which have men and women in leadership, but which have more than 60 percent of one gender on the board, are classed as "yellow", with "red" companies classed as those which have no women on the board at all.

Small companies - companies with fewer than 50 employees - were more likely to have more women on the board, with women making up 30 percent of leadership, compared to 27 percent in medium companies (between 50-250 employees), and 28 percent in large companies (over 250 employees).

In addition to this, of the 13 companies which were downgraded to "yellow" from "green", only one was a small company, while 11 of the 20 companies moving up into the "green" list were small companies.

Non-white women have most difficulties reaching company leadership positions

In terms of racial diversity, the news is less positive.

Only 2 percent of the boards of directors of Sweden's publicly-listed companies were classified as "non-white" in the report, with this number slightly higher for other leadership positions at 5 percent.

"Being white majority Swedish appears to be a merit," it states.

"Non-white" in the report refers to "people who can be coded as: Black, Asian, Latino/Latina, as well as people from the Middle East (including Turkey) and North Africa", as studies have shown that people who are perceived as belonging to these categories experience systematic racism and discrimination, it states.

Both non-white women and men have difficulty in getting a position in company leadership, the report states, adding that it appears to be hardest of all for non-white women, who make up just 0.5 percent of company leadership, compared to non-white men, who make up 4 percent.


The report further states that many companies describe their biggest challenge as attracting talent, while studies show that qualified individuals are overlooked in recruiting due to their skin colour or name.

"This is a losing game for companies, society and individuals," it reads.

Allbright's CEO and founder Amanda Lundeteg, herself a non-white woman in leadership, highlighted the need for better statistics in a written comment to Swedish newswire TT.

"In the same way that disaggregated statistics on gender have been crucial for making progress on salaries, parental leave and equal healthcare, we need disaggregated statistics that expose racism," she said.


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Esteban 2023/06/19 16:42
To Gilberto: In English the term Latino is generally used to refer to people from Latin America. However, Latinos themselves can also be white, black, mixed, etc, so it's not the best term for racial diversity in either case. The grand majority, however, are mixed race and that is what is typically assumed. It would be best for the Allbright Foundation to state "non-white Latinos" instead of just "Latinos."
Gilberto Damante 2023/06/19 12:54
People from Spain, Portugal, Italy and France are Latinos/Latinas, so are they cathegorized non-white?

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