Creating a society that is just, inclusive & embracing of all

Case study

Researchers in Texas, USA, hope to move the dial on gender equality by working with policymakers to make decisions that are grounded in evidence and robust data.

Dr Lorraine Eden Dr Lorraine Eden, Professor Emerita of Management and Research Professor of Law at Texas A&M University, and current Dean of Fellows of the Academy of International Business
Literati award won Highly commended paper 2018
Winning research Culture and content matter: Gender in international business and management

The problem

Inequality exists, and gender equality remains unfinished business in every country of the world. Even though equality between men and women has remained a core tenet of the UN Charter for over 75 years, statistics show that we still have a long way to go before that goal is reached. In 2019, for example, women accounted for almost 39% of the global labour force but occupied only 28.3% of managerial positions, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). In addition, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) reported the global proportion of women in parliament at just over 25% in 2020, an increase of 0.6% on the previous year.

It will not be possible to live in a fair society that works for everyone until the gender gaps in major areas of human development are solved. Efforts must be made to close the gaps in areas such as work, health, representation and education, and this is why the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has named gender equality among the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

One major challenge in assessing the state of gender equality lies in how data is captured and measured. Gender inequality indexes are measures often used by policymakers and organisations to aid decision making, however, results can differ between them and they may fail to adequately capture different cultural and social contexts.

Our world faces a variety of grand challenges and communities of scholars can help by providing policy-oriented scholarship that focuses on one or more of these challenges

Dr Lorraine Eden


The research

Dr Lorraine Eden, Professor Emerita of Management and Research Professor of Law at Texas A&M University, and current Dean of Fellows of the Academy of International Business, has been studying better ways to understand gender equality issues. She wrote an article titled, ‘Culture and content matter: Gender in international business and management’, co-authored with Professor Susan Forquer Gupta at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, and published in Cross-Cultural and Strategic Management in 2017. The study sheds light on the problems with gender inequality indexes and argues that because they fail to consider social and cultural contexts they lead to ineffective actions.


The impact towards a fairer society

Professor Eden says that business and management scholars can make an impact by “engaging in responsible research that is well designed and serves societal needs”. Her work can attest to that vision. As well as being recognised by policymakers and government organisations, her work is multi-award winning, most recently gaining a 2021 Responsible Research in Management Award from the Academy of Management (AOM) Fellows and Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM), which will be presented at the annual AOM meetings in August 2021.

From a policy-making perspective, Professor Eden’s latest paper has provided actionable results. After sharing her work with policymakers at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), she was invited to an expert meeting to provide comments on the UNCTAD report alongside her co-author Professor Wagstaff. As a result, Amelia Santos-Paulino, Chief of the investment issues and analysis at the UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, stated that the research 'helped in formulating concrete policy recommendations in UNCTAD’s policy report, The International Transmission of Gender Policies and Practices: The Role of Multinational Enterprises, published in March 2021, especially in the areas of responsible reporting, and multinational enterprises (MNE’s) as role models in transferring gender practices'. In addition, the paper contributed to UNCTAD’s own policy-oriented research, in particular on the role of the private sector in fostering investment in the SDGs. Professors Eden and Wagstaff were invited to speak about their research on SDG 5 in a June 2021 Academy of International Business Journals webinar on ‘Multinationals and the SDGs’; view their talk on YouTube.

Professor Eden has continued to work on MNEs and the SDGs, recently co-authoring a paper with Dr Niraja Srinivasan (NERA Economic Consulting), published in the Journal of International Business Policy in 2021, entitled, ‘Going digital multinationals: Navigating economic and social imperatives in a post-pandemic world’. Professor Eden has also been invited to speak on the ‘High-Level Panel on MNEs and Women Empowerment’ at the World Investment Forum in October 2021.


The background story

Listen to Dr Lorraine Eden explain why her own family background inspired her area of research into gender equality and why taking an evidence-based approach to policymaking is an essential first step in dealing with gender equality issues.