Gender Composition of Boards of Directors and Sensitivity to Gender Issues in Italian University Strategic Plans
In the recent Italian regulatory framework, planning is the main point in the effective accomplishment of the mission of universities. Among the planning tools envisaged by the legislator, on one hand strategic plans outline the mission, the strategic guidelines and the objectives of the University, and on the other hand the integrated plan, which includes shorter-term objectives and strategies. Previous research suggests that women in boards of directors bring new perspectives to the board themselves. The objective of the essay is to verify if the gender composition of these bodies influences the quality of the planning process that produce effects on performance and achievement of results. The impact of board structure on gender sensitivity of the Italian state universities is thus explored, and it is verified considering both the process and the content of documents (Strategic Plans). In particular, we use the content analysis methodology in order to build a compliance indicator on the planning process and content. The empirical findings suggest that boards with higher gender diversity are positively related to the gender sensitivity of the strategic plans: the participation of women in the board of directors brings new perspectives to the board and addresses the gender sensitivity of the institution.