Gender equality has become a growing concern of business leaders and policymakers, and is currently receiving the attention of the World Economic Forum’s council on the Future of Education, Gender, and Work and the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The research adopts an implementation approach within the framework of the International Research Network on Gendering Equality Policy in Practice (GEPP).
Despite progress made towards gender equality in the workplace, substantial vertical segregation still exists whereby women’s opportunities for career progression are limited. Women currently account for only 16.6% of board members of the largest publicly listed companies in the EU. A variety of policy measures and strategies have been adopted at the national and supranational level in order to reduce workplace segregation. Several countries have passed legislation mandating the use of quotas to increase the numbers of women on corporate boards. However, comparative studies have revealed greatly varying impacts of such measures on gender equality and female representation.
The project addresses a series of comparative questions including: (1) Who are the key stakeholders responsible for implementing equality policy inside and outside the state? (2) To what extent are policy measures for reducing vertical segregation actually taken up by these actors? (3) To what extent are mandatory measure more/less successful than voluntary ones?
Existing research has mapped the range and scope of mandatory and voluntary measures to combat vertical segregation, but there has been little comparative focus on the process of implementing these measures (and the barriers to effective implementation) and on their outcomes. In addressing this gap, the research will have substantial potential for both academic impact and policy impact. In identifying the barriers to successful implementation of equality measures, and proposing measures to overcome these barriers, it is of interest to corporate leaders as well as to policymakers at the national and international levels.