Gender balance topline report front page Leadership Advisor Group

How are the Danish C25 companies doing on gender diversity?


Here’s a topline view of the results of our parent company Leadership Advisor Group’s February 2021 desk research on the status of gender diversity at the top publicly listed Danish companies. This is the first time this research is put together for the Danish market. (See also this recent article in the Danish business newspaper Børsen).

Can you guess how many companies have clear targets for both the board and the executive management team? (Spoiler Alert – only three!).

And are you aware that the board is responsible for reviewing, EVERY YEAR, what actions the company is taking to ensure relevant diversity at the different management levels? Some boards are more active with this task than others, and performance will only improve with more active board involvement.  Be sure it is on the annual wheel of agenda topics at YOUR board meetings!

Key Findings

The research shows that C25 companies are well on their way toward complying with the recommendations to set, publish and achieve gender targets for the board, while the situation looks much weaker for executive management teams.

Boards currently (Feb. 2021) have on average 36% females, and 21 of C25 (88%) state a clear gender goal, though 10 are not very ambitious, having goals of 30% or less.  Fourteen companies (58%) achieved their goal for their boards by February 2021.

Weaker compliance is seen on executive management teams, as they have on average only 13% females, with thirteen companies (54%) having zero women on the exec mgmt. team, and only three companies having set a clear gender goal, albeit at low levels of 20% to 25%.  Only one company (AP Moller Maersk) has achieved their target. A full 87% of the companies have no clear published goal for gender on the executive management team (!).

Diversity Policies

It has long been a recommendation in the Corporate Governance Guidelines that companies create and publish clear diversity policies. These should focus on issues that strengthen management’s qualifications and competencies and support the company’s future development. They should also explain how the company will actively work on increasing diversity, including the gender distribution at the different management levels in the company.

Our research shows that all the C25 companies have published diversity policies in some format, but in many cases, the published policy for making progress toward diversity consists of a few sentences in the CSR or SDG report notes, without concrete measures or milestones. In our full report, you can find extracts from the policies in individual company one-pagers.  Overall, only 3 out of 24  C25 companies (13%) are completely clear with regard to their goals for BOTH board of directors and executive management and therefore qualify for our green light*.

*Note that with these “traffic lights” we mean that companies with Green are doing well, companies with Yellow still have opportunities, and companies with Red have a longer way to go toward compliance.  Also note that with these lights we have not considered the actual number of women each company has on the board and in executive management. As you will see in the detailed findings, many companies have increased the number of women but may not have reached their targets yet.

Companies to be celebrated

Despite the work that still needs to be done, many companies are already doing a good job, and here’s a list of which ones fall into these different categories, based on data from Feb. 2021.

If you’d like more information on how we did the research, or deeper findings for each company, don’t hesitate to contact us here: or

See the topline PDF here:


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