Balancing the Boardroom: Can Lessons be Learned?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Inequality continues to plague the boardrooms of companies worldwide. In the UK, only 20% of the directors of the FTSE100 are women. This paper will examine legal, social, and cultural barriers to greater equality in corporate leadership roles and strategies for changing long-standing inequalities in the business world. For many businesses, the law is simply a hurdle to clear, an obstacle to work around or a box to tick: business first; law second. Companies can carefully risk-assess legal challenges and factor the cost of non-compliance into their business plan. Although Section 172 Companies Act 2006 was in part adopted to introduce more ethical behaviour into corporate boardrooms, directors may still comply in a way that does not affect business decision-making in any meaningful way. This paper asks what regulations, incentives or sanctions can be successful in challenging the accepted norms and inequalities of the business world more than superficially, focusing on the slowly-changing norm of the male-dominated board. It will also critically analyse the reasons for the gradual increase in women serving on corporate boards in the UK and some parts of Europe, whether the result of legislation; quotas; disclosure; customer demands; changing attitudes; or sound economic reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2015
Event40th British International Studies Association Annual Conference - London
Duration: 18 Jun 2015 → …


Conference40th British International Studies Association Annual Conference
Period18/06/15 → …
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