Board Gender Diversity in Maltese Equity-Listed and Large Public Sector Entities**
Purpose: The objectives of this paper are to (i) identify and assess the barriers to Board gender diversity (BGD) in Maltese Equity-listed Entities (MLE’s) and Large Public Sector Entities (LPSE’s) and analyse the extent of BGD presence therein; (ii) assess the perceived implications of BGD on Board effectiveness (BE) and (iii) to recommend how the level of BGD may be improved. Methodology: A mixed-methods research approach was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 participants consisting of 9 company secretaries, 5 directors, 12 participants in Board meetings and 3 Institutional representatives. Findings: BGD barriers were found to mainly result from (i) historical and cultural influences; (ii) limited existing networks owing to country smallness and scarce visibility of females; (iii) lack of mentors offering guidance to females;(iv) and the inequitable sharing of childcare responsibilities between parents rendering work-life balance difficult for females. BGD was also perceived to have a positive impact on BE owing to the ensuing variety of skills and personalities and the minimisation, if not prevention, of groupthink. Furthermore, females were perceived as tending to be more ethically behaved, better at multi-tasking, and having an eye for detail. Practical implications: The paper concludes that the existing barriers to BGD are as yet rendering it rather low in both MLEs and LPSEs. Furthermore, the more the female Board ratio increases towards a reasonable female/male balance, the more Boards are rendered effective by such BGD. The current position reflects the immediate need for the implementation of measures towards increasing the female Board ratio. Originality value: This paper attempts to increase awareness about the need to enhance the level of BGD in MLEs and LPSEs, and also about the positive impact that an improved BGD may have on BE. It also recommends a number of ways as to how entities may improve such BGD level.