Bringing Women on Board? Family Policies, Quotas and Gender Diversity in Top Jobs.

Bringing Women on Board? Family Policies, Quotas and Gender Diversity in Top Jobs.

Abstract

An influential body of work has identified a ‘welfare-state paradox’: work-family policies that bring women into the workforce also undermine women’s access to the top jobs. Missing from this literature is a consideration of how welfare-state interventions impact on women’s representation at the board-level specifically, rather than managerial and lucrative positions more generally. This article contributes to addressing this ‘gap’. A fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 22 industrialised countries reveals how welfare-state interventions combine with gender boardroom quotas and targets in (not) bringing a ‘critical mass’ of women onto private-sector corporate boards. Overall, the analysis finds limited evidence in support of a welfare-state paradox. Moreover, widespread childcare services are associated with a greater share of women on boards. The results further suggest that ‘hard’, mandatory gender boardroom quotas are not necessary for achieving more women on boards; ‘soft’, voluntary recommendations can work too, but only under certain family policy constellations.

Publication
Work, Employment and Society
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Helen Kowalewska
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford with interests in comparative social policy, gender and employment.