The top management characteristics can have an impact on corporate strategic goals and actions. The board diversity, with particular reference to gender issue, can influence Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and company’s strategies toward a business model more oriented to sustainability. According to this this theoretical framework, two issues about women on boards and CSR are presented in this study: the situation of women in top positions in the light of the 2030 Agenda, considering this issue as a specific target of the Agenda, but also the direct and indirect effects that a more gender balance in corporate governance bodies could have for the achievement of the other Agenda’s goals; the current situation in Europe to see if and how Europe is marking out the path for a more gender equality into the business. The methodology refers to a descriptive analysis of quantitative data based on secondary data sources together with a qualitative content analysis with a directed approach. In the face of its limits, this study contributes to the literature, nurturing the ongoing discussion about women on board and CSR, shifting the attention on the corporate culture of sustainability and the role women on board can have in a global vision tending to a more sustainable world. The main practical implications refer to the importance of gender diversity in the selection of board members, mainly in those countries where no binding rules exist, and the commitment by companies for the creation of a more inclusive working environment to increase retention and to help women to recognize their full potential, according with a gender mainstreaming (GM) approach. Finally, this study fillips future lines of research in the fields of diversity within boards, including also age and nationality dimensions.
Key words: Women on boards, gender balance, corporate social responsibility, 2030 Agenda, sustainability.
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