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Oxford Brookes Business School
Phone number: 01865485796
Location: CLCG.14 Headington Campus
This article examines whether progress in women’s access to decision-making positions is best achieved through increased levels of development or targeted actions. Drawing on European data for the period 2006–2018, the article examines the association between how gender equal a country is and legislated measures such as board quotas with women’s representation on boards. The analysis then explores how this can be nuanced by differentiating between hard sanctions, soft sanctions and codes of governance. It shows that board quotas cannot be relied upon as instruments of progress independently of a contextual environment that is more gender equal. Furthermore, board quotas with hard sanctions work best, followed by codes of governance, particularly when associated with higher gender equality. However, board quotas with soft sanctions are associated with results that are only marginally better than not having any measure in place. The article concludes that for further and faster progress to be made, introducing legislated board quotas shows great potential, though only in combination with striving for a gender equal society and using hard sanctions. The results call for organizations not to lose focus on ‘rights’ at the expense of the more palatable ‘business case’ for board quotas when striving for equality on corporate boards.
Women are under-represented in leadership roles in United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Existing scholarship focuses on institutional barriers, which include cognitive bias and entrenched homosocial cultures, rather than external factors such as the use of executive search firms (ESFs) in recruitment and selection. Recent research indicates that the use of ESFs is increasing for senior HEI appointments. This analysis offers insights on these firms’ involvement from a gender equality perspective, based on the results from a study that used a ‘virtuous circle’ approach to research and knowledge exchange. The requirement for HEIs to pay ‘due regard’ to equality considerations under the Public Sector Equality Duty provides a framework for analysis. This paper provides new insights on the dynamics within recruitment processes when ESFs are involved and on how a legislative approach can leverage better equality outcomes.
Women’s participation in sporting activity has increased significantly over recent years, though they continue to be underrepresented in management and leadership roles. UK sport faces a similar gender imbalance, and this chapter offers an exploration of this through a research study investigating enablers and barriers to women’s career progression in the horseracing industry. Women across all sectors face a series of career barriers which were also identified within horseracing. These include family responsibilities, perceptions that women are less motivated or capable, limitations due to role segregation or gender stereotyping, and negative perceptions of female leaders. Important career enablers include the development of social and human capital, for example through training, mentoring, and sponsorship. As a response, and reflecting existing, successful business-led voluntary frameworks, a series of industry-led initiatives was developed for horseracing. These included methods to support women’s progression, along with addressing underlying attitudinal barriers to achieve long-term change.