Female board Directors’ resilience against gender discrimination

Rita Goyal, Nada Kakabadse, Andrew Kakabadse, Danielle Talbot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Despite regulatory efforts to promote gender diversity on boards, women are still severely underrepresented in board leadership in the UK, beyond FTSE 100 companies. Evidence suggests that women, when poorly represented in the workplace, are more likely to suffer discrimination. In this study we report the first-hand experiences of gender discrimination suffered by female directors and present the process of how they build resilience through developing coping strategies. Such resilience-building processes seem to vary with the length
of board experience of female directors. At the outset of their board journey, they adopt avoidant coping strategies of denial and disengagement. However, with experience in boards, they gain the confidence to pursue the active coping strategy of seeking and extending support.
This qualitative study is based on 42 elite interviews of board Directors and is guided by the resilience theory, in the context of top FTSE boards. The article also discusses the contribution of the study to theory, praxis and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-222
Number of pages26
JournalGender, Work & Organization
Issue number1
Early online date31 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • active and avoidant coping strategies
  • coping strategies
  • resilience processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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