What are the economic costs of gender-based disparities? What would the economy and society at large gain from a wider involvement of women in the labour market? What changes would more women in top positions generate? The paper addresses these issues grounding its analysis in the economic literature. It focuses on the policies which can promote the role of women in economic decision making concentrating on gender quotas. In particular, after considering the pros and cons of the introduction of this type of policy, the paper discusses the Italian law introduced in 2011 and its first effects, highlighting how the Italian law can serve as a blueprint for other countries which want to design interventions to promote female presence in leadership positions. The conclusion suggests that viewing equal opportunities between men and women not only as an important matter of equal rights but also a matter of higher growth and welfare for all may help in building consensus to move the issue to the top of the political agenda.
Keywords: Gender gaps, growth, performance, gender quotas, boards of directors