Low Representativeness of Women in Management Positions

The growth in the presence of women in the labour market, as well as the increase in their education, has not had an equivalent effect on access to decision-making and leadership positions (CIG, 2017a), which is one of the most visible forms of gender inequality in the universe of companies and organizations (Cavazotte et al., 2010).

In Portugal, the difference between women and men in positions of power and decision-making in companies remains striking: 12% vs 88% in the management of listed companies, 7% vs 93% among the executive members of the companies’ management bodies, 16% vs 84% among the non-executive members of the management bodies of listed companies, 11 % vs 89% in the supervisory bodies of listed companies, 28% vs 72% in the management bodies of companies in the State business sector, 20% vs 80% in the management bodies of companies in the local business sector (CIG, 2017b).

In the same year of publication of the previous data, Law No. 62/2017 (Diário da República/ Republic Diary, 2017) determined that there should be minimum thresholds for people of each sex in the administrative and supervisory bodies, so that the country can move forward for greater gender equality. Specifically, in the State business sector, 33.3% from January 2018; and in listed companies, 20% from the first elective general meeting after January 2018, and 33.3% from the first elective general meeting after January 2020. Thus, these companies are now required to approve plans for equality with measures that promote and guarantee equality between women and men in companies (CIG, 2017b).

A study by Flávia Neves, Lucia de Oliveira and Liliana Miranda (2010) revealed that the perception of gender inequality in companies, especially in terms of recognition and representation, is one of the main factors responsible for the intention to exchange jobs among women. Ultimately, companies and organizations should realize that dissatisfaction and the perception of injustice at the representative level contributes to high turnover, which is not beneficial to the company/organization’s culture.