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This paper looks at the impact of the new regulatory framework in Portugal that came into force in January 2018, the so-called gender quota law that relates to the gender composition of the boardrooms of companies listed on the Euronext Lisbon Stock Exchange and in the public sector. It begins by contextualising the debate about the underrepresentation of women on boards and the new binding policy framework that has been introduced in the European Union (EU) and Portugal. The paper then examines the data relating to the representation of men and women on the boards of public listed companies (PLCs). It is concluded that the introduction of binding legal targets in Portugal has accelerated the movement towards a greater representation of women on the boards of PLCs, giving an added impulse to the longstanding, but slow progress generated by the incentives that were designed to encourage voluntary action on the part of the companies themselves, and to promote self-regulatory measures. One of the fundamental challenges lying ahead is to move from a greater numerical gender balance to s ubstantive gender equality in the boardroom, while also increasing the representation of women in positions of power and with influence over decision-making.
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