This paper investigates whether gender quotas have had success so far in their primary goal of reducing gender disparities in Italian corporate boards. Debate about gender equality on boards gained momentum and global prominence over the last years attracting attention of both researchers and practitioners worldwide. Despite a remarkable progress in education and their participation in the labor market, women still face large barriers to advance into upper management and boardrooms and gaps remain. Women are still under-represented in senior executive and board positions worldwide even if there is wide variation across countries. The present is a qualitative study that aims to contribute to the ongoing international debate about gender diversity on corporate boards (or lack thereof), providing current evidence from Italy, four years after the entry into force of Law 120/2011, establishing legislated quotas in order to ensure gender-balanced corporate boards. Using the samples of Italian listed companies and government-controlled companies tracked by Consob and Cerved respectively, findings show a substantial progress of female representation in Italian corporate boards (including governing and auditing boards) over the period 2008-2015 and reflect the extent to which women are shattering the glass ceiling, right before and after the implementation of the new (although controversial) gender quotas regulation. However, even though the number of women who sit on corporate boards has increased, it is necessary to ensure that the appointment of women is a board’s genuine intention to become gender diverse and more effectiveness rather than evidence of a result driven by tokenism, designed to enhance corporate reputation and image.

WOMEN ON CORPORATE BOARDS. THE CASE OF ‘GENDER QUOTAS’ IN ITALY

PASTORE, Patrizia
;
TOMMASO, Silvia
2016

Abstract

This paper investigates whether gender quotas have had success so far in their primary goal of reducing gender disparities in Italian corporate boards. Debate about gender equality on boards gained momentum and global prominence over the last years attracting attention of both researchers and practitioners worldwide. Despite a remarkable progress in education and their participation in the labor market, women still face large barriers to advance into upper management and boardrooms and gaps remain. Women are still under-represented in senior executive and board positions worldwide even if there is wide variation across countries. The present is a qualitative study that aims to contribute to the ongoing international debate about gender diversity on corporate boards (or lack thereof), providing current evidence from Italy, four years after the entry into force of Law 120/2011, establishing legislated quotas in order to ensure gender-balanced corporate boards. Using the samples of Italian listed companies and government-controlled companies tracked by Consob and Cerved respectively, findings show a substantial progress of female representation in Italian corporate boards (including governing and auditing boards) over the period 2008-2015 and reflect the extent to which women are shattering the glass ceiling, right before and after the implementation of the new (although controversial) gender quotas regulation. However, even though the number of women who sit on corporate boards has increased, it is necessary to ensure that the appointment of women is a board’s genuine intention to become gender diverse and more effectiveness rather than evidence of a result driven by tokenism, designed to enhance corporate reputation and image.
Corporate Boards, Corporate Governance, Women On Boards, Gender Diversity, Female Directorship
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/132864
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