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Achieving gender balance in the boardroom: is it time for legislative action in the UK?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Charlotte Villiers
University of Bristol


In the UK and across the globe, women struggle to get a place on the boards of large public companies and still take home less pay than their male counterparts. At a time of financial crisis and corporate governance failures, this lack of equality is considered especially problematic because the talents of half the workforce are not being utilised fully. This paper explores the possibility of introducing legislative gender quotas for company boardrooms in the UK. Such laws have been passed in Norway and Spain with dramatic results. Other countries, such as France and the Netherlands, look set to follow the examples of Norway and Spain. Has that time arrived in the UK?

Research Article
Copyright © Society of Legal Scholars 2010

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83. It might also be the case that in these current times of financial recession firm performances will be reduced but not necessarily because of gender diversity. The figures might be difficult to interpret with any certainty under such conditions.

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132. The Coalition: Our Programme for Government May 2010, p 18.

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134. Although all three countries have met the Barcelona Target on childcare provision, it is acknowledged that private child care is expensive in the three countries; see J Plantenga and C Remery The Provision of Childcare Services: A Comparative Review of 30 European Countries (European Commission, 2009).

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137. Ibid.

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