Researchequal opportunities, Europe, finance

Investing in women: what women-led businesses in Italy and the UK need

Publication date: 01/2020
Authors: Holly Lewis-Frayne, Roberta Rabellotti, Paola Subacchi


In this report the authors explore the various funding options available to women entrepreneurs in Italy and the UK. The key research question is whether the countries’ different approaches to narrowing the gender gap and improving gender equality have resulted in significant differences in funding for women entrepreneurs. Italy has a mandatory quota for the representation of women on the boards of directors of listed companies, that was introduced with the Golfo-Mosca Law in 2011 and recently extended to 2022, whereas the UK has a market-led, voluntary approach to board diversity. In addition to the differing approaches, the study examines whether the presence of more women on the boards of publicly-listed banks would drive change and reduce implicit biases in how women-led business access credit facilities. In other words, would bank boards with a better gender balance act as agents of change in the market for credit?

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