Gender equality in distribution of economic power: Understanding and overcoming obstacles to gender equality in economic decision-making.

Project is financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009–2014.

 

Objectives of the project

 

General objective: greater awareness of gender equality and incentives for research in economic decision-making.

Specific objective: improvement of gender equality in economic decision-making in Slovenia.

Research

We will analyse Norwegian internationally recognized experience with gender quotas in business, organizational and individual practices and its applicability in Slovenia. Partnership that combines academic and business knowledge (partners in the project are University of Ljubljana, BI Norwegian Business School, Managers' Association of Slovenia and Slovenian Human Resource Association) will contribute to the development of appropriate policies, organizational practices, motivation of young women and rise of awareness of general public. We will advise politicians how to develop policies for gender equality in economic decision-making, create training programs for top and personnel managers and career guidance for female students.

The project combines research work, transfer and dissemination of the best practices and knowledge, and development of new solutions in order to improve gender equality in the Slovenian economic decision-making. The project’s point of departure is that analyses of obstacles for gender equality in decision making need to take a multi-level (individual, organisational and institutional level) and interactive approach. We will highlight the role of organizational culture and procedures and institutional framework. The experiences and practices from Norway would be highly relevant in finding ways to tackle the lack of balance in participation of women and men in economic decision-making. The tradition and the wealth of research material on the position of women in management and corporate governance in Norway (e.g. Huse, M. and Solberg, A.G, 2006, Teigen, 2012) will provide useful indications of the fields in which additional research and policy/organisational development should be done in Slovenia.

We see public policies as crucially important for greater gender equality. The introduction of the gender balance law in 2006 in Norway led to a dramatic increase in the number of women on boards of Norwegian companies and that made Norwegian regulations into a blueprint for action internationally (Huse and Seierstad, 2013). Project will analyse how much the Slovenian institutional and political context accommodates introduction of similar legislation. We will advise Slovenian political decision-makers and Slovenian business how to respond to EU requirements regarding gender balanced economic decision making. As we understand societal and organizational change as an ongoing process and not as episodes in the otherwise stable environment, the project would contribute to developing competences of actors who play an active part in changing and modelling of organizations and organisational environment. Through collaboration with experts on political decision-making and reconciliation of professional and private life we will contribute in developing solutions for some cross-cutting issues of this and other two subfields of the field of Gender Equality. First, the reconciliation of professional and family/private life is one of the most salient issues for business women and one of the obstacles for young women in starting the managerial careers and promotion to the senior positions. We will address that in analysis and development of recommendations at the organisational level. Secondly, explanations of the unequal distribution of power among men and women often point out similar/same principles operating in different spheres (political decision making, economic decision making, academia). We will address similarities and specifics and try to find common solutions.

TARGET GROUPS

 

Political decision-makers

need information on benefits of balanced participation of women and men in economic decision making for the economy and society and on the experiences with quotas in Norway. Due to credibility of project partners and active role of the Project’s Sponsor we intend to reach a high number of political decision-makers at the event in the State Council of Slovenia.

Managers in organisations

need knowledge on suitable organisational processes and practices that promote gender balance on decision making positions and about the benefits of the balance for their companies. In cooperation with our partners we intend to reach members of the Managers' Association of Slovenia and Slovenian HR Association.

Female students

need knowledge about the potential obstacles on their managerial career path and about possible solutions. In collaboration with the Career Center of University of Ljubljana we intend to provide information to as much as possible female students.

General public

needs information about the existing gender inequality in economic decision making, reasons and consequences of that inequality, potential benefits of balanced economic power of women and men, instruments needed and actors responsible for change.