WAPPP Seminar Series: Corporate Board Quotas and Gender Equality Policies in the Workplace


Thursday, March 4, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Hosted Online

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Ana Weeks |Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Bath

Do corporate board quotas increase attention to gender equality policies in the workplace? Existing research examines the link between quotas, financial performance, and women’s promotion, but we lack an understanding of how quotas impact the structural determinants of gender imbalance in the workplace. We focus on the case of Italy, where a quota was adopted in 2011, and compare it to a counterfactual country with no quota: Greece. Analyzing the corporate reports of publicly listed companies in both countries before and after the quota passed in Italy, we find a 50% increase in post-quota Italian companies’ attention to gender equality issues, especially relating to the leadership and pay gaps and flexible working. Qualitative analysis suggests more than mere “window dressing” – Italian companies are developing new initiatives after the quota.

Ana Catalano Weeks is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Bath. She studies the causes and consequences of women's inclusion in politics, with a focus on party politics in advanced democracies. Her current research projects evaluate the policy impacts of gender quota laws in advanced democracies, the effects of corporate board quotas on workplace equality policies, and the inclusion of women in populist radical right parties. Her work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, European Political Science Review, Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, and Politics & Gender, and coverage of her research has appeared in The New York Times, Fortune, Fast Company, Macleans, and other international news outlets.