The GBB index: A proposal to measure the gender balance on company boards

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Maria João Guedes ORCID logo, Sara Falcão Casaca ORCID logo

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Gender balance on company boards is one of the core goals of greater social justice and gender equality in societies (Council of Europe, 2003). To this end, it is pivotal to adequately measure whether boards are balanced and close to parity. This research proposes a gender balance on boards (GBB) index to measure the balance between women and men on the boards of directors of firms. It varies between zero, when the board is homogenous with only women or only men, and one, when the board is totally balanced with 50% women and 50% men. It is designed so that it can be adapted according to the theoretical framework, and it can serve as a practical tool for measuring and monitoring the results and progress of the firm, industry, or context against the desired benchmark. The index can be used as a guide for policymakers, regulators, and other social actors including the media on the degree of uptake of actions required to improve governance practices. It provides simple, objective, and comparable data that can be used to raise awareness in society about progress towards a greater gender-balanced representation on corporate decision-making bodies.

Keywords: Women on Boards, Index, Firms, Parity, Gender Balance

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization — M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Methodology — M.J.G.; Software — M.J.G.; Validation — M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Formal Analysis — M.J.G.; Investigation — M.J.G.; Writing — Original Draft — M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Writing — Review & Editing — M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Visualization — M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Supervision —M.J.G. and S.F.C.; Project Administration — M.J.G. and S.F.C.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the valuable research support from Dr. Paul Edge in the mathematical development of the GBB index, as well as the financial support from the Foundation of Science and Technology (Project funded: PTDC/SOC-ASO/29895/2017 and UIDB/04521/2020).

JEL Classification: G3, G38, G39

Received: 12.03.2021
Accepted: 17.05.2021
Published online: 19.05.2021

How to cite this paper: Guedes, M. J., & Casaca, S. F. (2021). The GBB index: A proposal to measure the gender balance on company boards [Special issue]. Journal of Governance & Regulation, 10(2), 249–257.