How do FTSE100 Companies Frame Gender Equality?

27 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017 Last revised: 19 Apr 2017

Date Written: February 9, 2017


This study interrogates the factors motivating corporate engagement with gender equality. When FTSE100 companies discuss boardroom diversity, how are those discussions framed?

The findings reveal three dominant framing techniques used: (1) valuing diversity; (2) merit; and (3) nurturing talent.

The findings from this study have implications for those seeking to further the debate on boardroom diversity. It demonstrates empirical support for the claim that sincere equality may be eluded or impeded by a myopic corporate focus on the ‘business case’ and treating gender as a further tool for competitive gain. However there are two more positive implications to help set the agenda for further activity in this area. First, this study pinpoints more concretely the reasons why companies value diversity. Reflecting local markets and consumers is a strong motivation. Second and more tentatively, the reported focus on nurturing women through the ‘talent pipeline’, training leaders to be aware of their ‘unconscious biases’, and exploring barriers to progression suggests that workplace structural barriers to equality are being acknowledged.

Suggested Citation

Russell, Roseanne, How do FTSE100 Companies Frame Gender Equality? (February 9, 2017). ICCLJ Volume 12, 2017, Issue 2, University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2017-08, Available at SSRN: or

Roseanne Russell (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

University of Bristol,
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol, BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

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