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From female labor force participation to boardroom gender diversity

Adams, Renée and Kirchmaier, Tom (2013) From female labor force participation to boardroom gender diversity. Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers (715). Financial Markets Group, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The list of barriers to female representation in management is analogous to the list of barriers to female labor force participation. Accordingly, we examine whether low female labor force participation is the main reason few women hold seats on corporate boards using data from 22 countries over the 2001-2010 period. Using a novel country-level measure of female participation on corporate boards, we show first that the representation of women on boards across countries is actually worse than most surveys suggest. We then examine the extent to which female labor force participation and institutional and country-level characteristics are related to boardroom diversity. We find that labor force participation is significantly related to the representation of women on boards when part-time and unemployed workers are excluded. However, cultural norms, the presence of boardroom quotas and codes promoting gender diversity are also correlated with female representation. This suggests that economic and cultural factors may be important barriers to female career advancement, but that preferences may be less important. While quotas may overcome problems of discrimination, they may be too narrow a policy tool to address other causes of female underrepresentation in management.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Financial Markets Group
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
G - Financial Economics > G3 - Corporate Finance and Governance > G34 - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2023 15:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:28

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