Gender-Balanced Boards Pave the Way for More Female Leaders in the Media Industry

An analysis conducted by Nordicom, examining the largest media corporations in the Nordic region, illustrates a correlation between gender-equitable corporate boards and the appointment of CEOs, as well as the composition of executive leadership teams.

Media companies in the Nordic region have shown notable progress in advancing gender equality, particularly when assessing the gender composition of their corporate boards. Findings from a survey by Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg, covering the top-25 media companies in the Nordic region for 2022, indicate a balanced representation of men and women in boardrooms. On average, four out of ten board members were women, and 44 per cent of these companies were headed by a female CEO.

The survey also shows that companies with equal gender representation on their boards were much more likely to have appointed a woman as CEO. In companies where the board was predominantly composed of men, a man held the CEO position in the majority of cases.

An important finding from the survey is that when the CEO was a woman, the likelihood significantly increased that the company’s executive leadership team would also be gender-balanced. Conversely, when the CEO was a man, the executive leadership team was predominantly male in eight out of eleven cases.

“When the CEO was a man, the executive leadership team was predominantly male in eight out of eleven cases.”

– The survey provides a clear picture of how gender equality on boards influences leadership decisions and representation within the company, says Ulrika Facht, media analyst at Nordicom.

– It is evident that an equal gender distribution at the top trickles down into the organisation, she continues.

The results underscore the importance of continuing efforts to promote gender equality in leadership positions, starting with the owners of media companies who are responsible for appointing board members.

Public service companies in the Nordic region have largely achieved gender equality, both in terms of the proportion of women and men as board members and participants in top management teams. In Sweden, both Sveriges Radio (SR) and Sveriges Television (SVT) have gender-balanced boards and executive leadership teams.

– We observe that having governance documents or laws addressing the pursuit of gender equality in boards makes a difference. Public service companies, serving the general public, are expected to live up to these standards, which we see that they do. They often have a female CEO and gender-balanced executive leadership teams. This provides better conditions for the companies to achieve their goals of gender equality in the content they offer to their audience, says Facht.

For further details, the complete survey is available here.