Self-regulation comes at a cost: closing off authoritative policy for gender equality on corporate boards in the UK

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In 2011, the UK government recognized the lack of corporate board diversity as an economic and social problem. This led to the establishment of a high-level review process that set a voluntary target of 25% female board members in FTSE 100 companies by 2015. A second review process set the target of 33% by the end of 2020. Although the 33% target was met by that date, and companies are more likely to include equality and diversity statements in their annual reporting, the chapter argues that a number of weaknesses still hinder the full potential of the British voluntary approach: women are still much more likely to be non-executive directors than executive ones; women rarely reach the CEO position; the change outside the 100 biggest companies is slow; female business leadership has not significantly expanded. By adhering at an early stage to voluntary self-regulation, the British review process has closed off the possibility of more stringent enforcement and loosened disincentives for resistance to change, thus limiting any gender transformative potential of these policy efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender equality and policy implementation in the corporate world
Subtitle of host publicationMaking democracy work in business
EditorsIsabelle Engeli, Amy Mazur
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Pages59-85
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780191897597
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-886521-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2022

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