Portugal: The Slow Progress of the Regulatory Framework

  • Sara Falcão Casaca


The regulatory context in Portugal has been slow, as policies to advance gender balance on boards have relied on a combination of awareness-raising initiatives and soft measures, such as policy recommendations and incentives for self-regulation. Empirical data show that improvements have been rather slow and inconsistent. Moreover, the normative approach has been top-down, resulting from the commitment of only a few people – namely a few political leaders rather than from a wide political and social support. The current government is planning to introduce binding legal measures aimed at increasing women’s representation (as the underrepresented sex) in the highest decision-making positions of the private (public listed companies) and public business sectors. No grass-roots movements or business actors have been actively involved in initiatives aimed at promoting a change in the regulatory framework. Despite this context, it is to be expected that no major hindering forces will block a more progressive route. It is argued that a more comprehensive, inter-sectoral and well-articulated approach is needed to ensure not only more satisfactory numbers as far as gender balance on boards is concerned, but also the development of a transformational organizational agenda capable of bringing gender equality to the workplaces and boardrooms in an effective and sustainable way.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Falcão Casaca
    • 1
  1. 1.ISEG—Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Research Center in Economic and Organizational Sociology (SOCIUS-CSG)University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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