Recently Belgium has passed a federal law (the law of 28 July 2011) imposing a gender quota, which states that boards of listed companies should comprise at least one third of each gender by 2017. In 2008, only 6.9% of the directors of the firms on the Belgian Euronext Brussels were women. In the last years, the underrepresentation of women on corporate boards of listed companies has risen to the top of the political agenda. Given the slow progress in the increase of female board members, several European countries have taken legal measures to increase the percentage of women on corporate boards. Also Belgian companies are now obliged to take the appropriate measures and to report on the board’s efforts in meeting the minimum quota. Taking this new Belgian legislation into account, this research project aims to investigate how corporations deal with the changes at the level of the boards and how it will impact the organizational structure of the company. As qualitative research allows us to better understand and interpret the complexities and structures of corporate change, we intend to conduct semi-structured deep interviews with male and female members of corporate boards. Based on these interviews, the functioning of corporate boards and the transitory processes related to the new gender quota legislation and how these (possible) changes are evaluated by corporate boards, will be analyzed.
Researcher: dr. Hannelore Roos
Promotors: prof. dr. Patrizia Zanoni (UHasselt) and prof. dr. Petra Meier (University of Antwerp)
Financing: Flemish Government
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