Drawing on 31 interviews, we explore the life trajectories of some of the women with most directorships in Norway after the introduction of the quota, with specific attention to their capitals. Adopting a Bourdieusian approach, we examine to what extent forced structural changes (the quota), challenge what are valued as legitimate capital(s) in the field (corporate boards). Our research demonstrates the progressive role of the quota in challenging gendered ideas of suitability. We found that structural adjustments in the field are leading to realignment in terms of the field-specific value and meaning of different types of capitals, which are redrawing the boundaries of the field in the process. We conclude that the external push through state-imposed regulation has broadened the field, resulting in the recognition of a wider set of capitals as legitimate. The study responds to the much-debated question about the utility of quotas in addressing systemic and historical inequalities.
- gender quotas
- women on boards