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Title: Does nomination influence women’s access to institutional decision-making bodies?
Author: Carvalho, Teresa
Diogo, Sara
Breda, Zélia
Keywords: Glass ceiling
Gender balance
Decision-making bodies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd
Abstract: Based in CHANGE1, a H2020 funded project, this paper puts in perspective the reality of a Portuguese university in terms of gender representation in its governance and management bodies. Portuguese higher education institutions (HEI) are excellent case-studies of women representation in academia, considering their significant presence and rapid growth in HEI. As the system expanded, and democratised it also became more feminised. Nevertheless, and despite efforts to minimise gender gaps, women are still underrepresented in top management and leading positions, contributing to increment the phenomenon of vertical segregation. Recently, within the NPM and managerialism context, HEI have been subjected to external pressures to create a new institutional and organisational environment aimed at substituting the collegial model with a managerial one. In this context, there is also a trend to replace the election by the nomination as the dominant process to occupy decision-making positions. In this paper, the authors discuss if and how the way decision-making bodies are constituted, influence the gender balance of their members. Both quantitative and qualitative data are analysed. Quantitative data result from the analysis of the gender constitution of the decision-making bodies of the university. Qualitative data focus on the content analysis of legal documents describing the mission of the decision-making bodies and in 12 interviews with institutional key-actors. The authors conclude that the gender balance decreases with the increasing importance of the decision-making body. Nevertheless, it is not possible to say that there is a direct relation between the way actors are chosen to these bodies and its gender balance. By other words, the way actors are chosen can not be seen as the only factor influencing the gender constitution of decision-making bodies. Furthermore, interviewees do not perceive the way actors are chosen as a relevant mechanism to improve gender equality and neither actions in this domain were identified to be included in Gender Equality Plans. This study provides a relevant contribution to the literature on mechanisms and strategies to improve gender equality in institutional decision-making processes and bodies.
Peer review: yes
ISBN: 978-1-912764-15-0
ISSN: 2048-9803
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