|Nomination vs. election: do they influence women’s access to institutional decision-making bodies?
|Year of Publication
|Diogo, S, Carvalho, T, Breda, Z
|Journal of Management and Governance
|Decision-making bodies, Election, Gender balance, Governance, Managerialism, New Public Management (NPM), Nomination, universities
Portuguese higher education institutions (HEIs) are excellent case-studies of women representation in academia, considering their significant presence and rapid growth in HEIs. 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. Based on the reality of the Portuguese academia, and focusing on an in-depth case study of a Portuguese university, this paper analyses if and how the way decision-making bodies are constituted, influence the gender balance of their members. Recently, within the New Public Management (NPM) context, HEIs have been subjected to external pressures to create a new organisational environment aiming at substituting the collegial model of governance with a managerial one. In this context, there has been a trend to replace the election by the nomination as the dominant process to occupy decision-making positions. The opening hypothesis of this study is that the way decision-making bodies are constituted, impacts on their gender balance. More specifically, it is argued that the nomination process tends to be more advantageous to women than the election. However, although it is possible to conclude that the gender balance decreases with the increasing importance of the decision-making body, it is not accurate to say that there is a direct relationship between the way actors are chosen to these bodies and their gender balance. In other words, the way actors are chosen can not be seen as the only factor influencing the gender constitution of decision-making bodies. The study provides a relevant contribution to the literature on mechanisms and strategies to improve gender equality in institutional decision-making processes and bodies.