In 2021, the proportion of women in boards of 4 members or more of companies with 50 employees or more was 41.5% for public limited companies and 38.3% for private limited companies. In boards of 3 members, the proportion was 34.8% for public limited companies and 29.13% for private limited companies, whereas for private limited companies with 2 board members the proportion was 19.7%.

The proportion of women in boards of directors of companies increased from 2008 to 2014, but has reached a plateau since then. The proportion of women in boards of directors increases with both the size of the boards, and size of the companies (measured in number of employees), and is higher in public limited companies than in private limited companies.

Looking at companies of 50 employees or more, the share of companies with a mixed board of directors has been steadily increasing over the last 12 years. In 2008, the proportion of companies that had at least one board member of each gender (in boards with 2 or 3 members), or that had a proportion of women ranging between 40% and 60% (for boards with 4 members or more), was between 14% (private limited companies having boards with 2 members) to 39% (public limited companies having boards with 3 members).

In 2021, the same proportion ranged from 72% (private limited companies with boards of 3 members) to 89% (public limited companies with boards of 3 members), varying by legal form and size of the board of directors. An exception is private limited companies having boards with 2 members, where the proportion of companies having mixed boards of directors was only 34.2% and has been decreasing since 2018.

Women were 27% of chairs and members of boards of directors in Icelandic enterprises at the end of 2021. In boards of directors of companies, where the number of employees was less than 50, the proportion was 26.6%, but 34.8% in boards of companies with 50 employees or more on average in 2021. For comparison, the proportion of women in boards of directors of companies with 50 employees or more was 15.4% in 2008 and 9.5% in 1999.

The proportion of women as managers of enterprises in 2021 was 23.9%, continuing a slight but steady increase since 1999. Proportion of women as chairs of the board was 24.7% in 2021.

Data on the number of managers, chairs and members of boards of directors are presented by gender and age, economic activity, size of enterprises, legal form, and size of the board of directors. Since the last update, there has been additional information on the activity of enterprises in 2020. The tables for 2020 have been updated accordingly.

In 2010, a law was passed for companies of 50 employees or more that stated that when there are 3 board members, the board should contain both men and women, and for boards of 4 or more members, the proportion of women should be 40%-60%. This law dealt with both public and private limited companies, cooperative societies and unlimited partnerships. In the case of private limited companies, the law furthermore stated that boards of directors having 2 board members should also contain a man and a woman. This law came into effect in September 2013.

The National Register has taken up the option of gender-neutral registration of individuals. There were no individuals with gender-neutral registration registered on boards of directors of Icelandic companies in 2021.

Statistics