Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Amy Sepinwall


Gender quotas for corporate boards have risen in popularity ever since Norway implemented the first quota in 2003. Proponents point to economic arguments (i.e. enhanced return on assets and return on equity) as well as social good rationales (i.e. bolstered corporate social responsibility and reduced fraud) to validate their enactment. Advocates further gloss over a moral justification rooted in a broad notion of equality, although more heavily relying on empirical claims.

This article demonstrates how empirical rationales in support of gender quotas are unconvincing. Economic evidence is ultimately inconclusive, and the social good justifications alone do not serve as compelling policy objectives. With respect to equality, the article distinguishes between equality of outcome and equality of opportunity, explaining how gender quotas provide equal outcome but do not satisfy equal opportunity. Finally, the article points to two more robust objectives for all gender workplace advancement policies, namely, equal opportunity and autonomy.


Gender quotas, corporate boards, women, equality



Date Posted: 10 August 2016


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.