Including gender balance as a criterion, every other conditions being equal: Selection in governing bodies

Problem (evidence)

The number of women on the Governing Boards of the university is significantly lower than that of men.


To reach a gender balance in the decision-making bodies.


Support from the Social Board members.

Time to communicate the changes to the whole collective (MU has a collective governance structure).

Brief outcomes

The Governing Board elections procedure has changed with the support of the General Assembly. Students, companies and staff members, are now more aware of gender issues and gender-balance in the governing bodies.

Key area

Recruitment, career progression and retention

Type of action

Positive action/policy


Mondragon Unibertsitatea
Higher education institution

Action level of implementation

Department Coordinators and Knowledge Areas Coordinators


The MU-PLOTINA team proposed a change in the elections process/rules at the Social Board. The Social Board proposes 4 names of possible candidates, only as a suggestion, before the elections. Usually, 2 women and 2 men are proposed. The old process included seniority as a criterion for selecting members in the case where two candidates collected the same amount of votes. The PLOTINA team instead, proposed to give priority to the underrepresented sex in case of two people having the same number of votes. Members of the Social Board were happy to make the change and then every representative of the Social Board communicated the proposal to the rest of the staff. No resistance was detected among the staff and the change was proposed at the General Assembly celebrated on the 7th of February 2019. The elections procedure has been changed successfully. 


No resistance was detected. However, the action will only have impact in case of two people having the same amount of votes.

Tips/strategies – Lessons learnt

We argued against the criterion of antiquity in the election process and we suggested that gender balance should also be taken into consideration.

More detailed Outcomes/Impact

A raised awareness and understanding of the importance of gender balance.

We expect that the Governing Boards will be more gender-balanced after the changes.