Executive Director Anne-Kari Gulliksen in Thailand reflects on women in leadership.
Starting afresh in 2018 it is time to reflect on important events and experiences from the year that has past, and to plan for the year ahead.
Plenty of opportunities are open to all of us, but at the same time, we know we will be facing many challenges.
Change is often a catalyst for improved performance. For Norway, the changes in government following the September elections finally gave us our first female Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is a historical win for gender equality in Norwegian politics. Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide is only 41 years old, but she has already served as Minister of Defence and as a parliamentarian. With the appointment of Ms Søreide, three skilled women now hold the most powerful positions in the Norwegian government.
For those of us living abroad it is also good to see that Norway is considered one of the most gender equal countries in the world. Within the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we see an increasing number of female top diplomats. In the Southeast Asian region, more than 50% of the Norwegian Heads of Mission are women. Norwegians should be proud of this fact, but not complacent. In this latest issue of Business Review, we have chosen to focus on Women in Leadership, not least because when looking at Norwegian businesses in Asia; the trend of female leadership is very different.
In Thailand, 45% of CEOs are women according to the Grant Thornton Business Report. Norwegian companies in Thailand have a very different profile. While we have not been able to find statistics on Norwegian women CEO’s outside of Norway, the number of female leaders in Norwegian businesses in Asia seems to be significantly lower than in Norway itself. In this issue of Business Review, we have interviewed some of the women who uphold leading positions in Asia; Ms Vibeke Lyssand Leirvåg, who has her own business in Thailand, Ms Kristine Anvik Leach, who is head of Jotun in India, and the Finnish Ambassador to Thailand, Ms Satu Suikkari-Kleven, who has strong ties to Norway. They serve as leading examples for the business community.
Also featured in this volume of Business Review is another important challenge: The massive global problem of marine garbage or marine plastic pollution. An exclusive interview with the pioneering scientist in her field, Ms Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia. Her appeal to the business community is clear: we need to look at our activities in order to solve this global threat in the year(s) ahead.
Let us move into 2018 with optimism and by challenging ourselves to do even better in the year ahead.