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Taking women on boards: a comparative analysis of public policies in higher education


Tanja Klenk, Dominik Antonowicz, Lars Geschwind, Rómulo Pinheiro, Anna Pokorska


There is growing interest in the underlying mechanisms affecting female leaders in Higher Education (HE). This article compares four countries – Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden to identify key structural conditions (enablers and barriers) for female representation in academia by studying the regulative framework of government policy. Two research questions are guiding the analysis: first, what (if any) policy instruments are chosen to increase the number of female leaders in HE? Second, to what extent does this choice of instruments mirror either sectorial logic (HE) or national policy styles?

The empirical results of the article show that while processes of policy diffusion are observable at the sectoral level, gender equality policies and instrument choice differ considerably in the four countries under consideration. The article thus concludes that national policy styles need to be understood as enabling and disabling policy factors for gender equality in HE shaping the process of translating diffused models decisively.