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Gender Equality and the Corporate Sector


  • Lisa Warth

    () (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)


This paper focuses on how the commitment of businesses to promote gender equality within their organisations can be strengthened. A dual approach of encouraging voluntary measures and corporate social responsibility for gender equality on the one hand, and regulating and enforcing change through legislative reforms on the other hand are reviewed, focusing mainly on the European region. There are arguments for a business case for gender equality in terms of better financial performance and competitiveness, improved recruitment, and retention of talent. Nevertheless gender inequalities in employment prevail. Focusing on the areas women in management and decision-making, gender pay gap and work-family reconciliation, the paper reviews innovative policy measures undertaken in the European region assessing the merits of encouragement versus regulation. The paper concludes that employers cannot solve persisting gender inequalities in the corporate sector on their own. A mix of encouraging, enabling, and obliging measures is needed to advance gender equality in the corporate sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa Warth, 2009. "Gender Equality and the Corporate Sector," ECE Discussion Papers Series 2009_4, UNECE.
  • Handle: RePEc:ece:dispap:2009_4

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    More about this item


    gender equality; corporate sector; government policy; gender pay gap; work-family reconciliation; women in management;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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