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Gender balance in the governance of social enterprise


  • Fergus Lyon


  • Anne Laure Humbert


There are high expectations placed on social enterprises as alternative forms shaping local economies. However, little is known about how they are governed and their accountability to their local communities. The gender balance of their governing boards and representation of women is therefore an important issue. This article makes a contribution to examining the claims of greater equality proposed by social enterprises. The results draw on an analysis of a survey of 825 social enterprises and show there is a more equal gender balance in social enterprise governance compared to the private sector. The survey also finds that women are still under-represented on boards when considered as a proportion of the population or the proportion of women’s employment in social enterprises. There is also considerable sectoral concentration and a smaller proportion of women on boards of larger organisations. Social enterprises have the potential to be alternative spaces to encourage greater representation of women in the governance of local economies, but at present there continues to be an imbalance.

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  • Fergus Lyon & Anne Laure Humbert, 2012. "Gender balance in the governance of social enterprise," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 27(8), pages 831-845, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:27:y:2012:i:8:p:831-845

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    boards; gender; governance; social enterprise; women;


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