Gender Diversity in the FTSE 100: The Business Case Claim Explored

38 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2011

See all articles by Sally Wheeler

Sally Wheeler

Australian National University (ANU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 6, 2011


The paper outlines the approach to gender diversity and corporate board membership that has been taken by the reports that have under pinned the evolution of corporate governance in the UK, with its unique comply and explain approach introduced by the Cadbury Report in 1992. The examination reveals that gender diversity, once engaged with, is firmly rooted in business case justifications. The second part of the paper draws out the existing empirical data which is relied upon by the exponents of the business case from studies undertaken primarily in the US and the EU. The final part of the paper tests the utility of this reliance against data extracted from an examination of the corporations listed on the FTSE 100 in 2009-2010. The use of the FTSE 100 is important as, although it gives a smaller sample size than previous studies, it is the very index against which the recent diversity and business case arguments are framed. The findings demonstrate that there is scant evidence for the business case and that in any event these arguments have been singularly unsuccessful in achieving a greater number of female appointments. The preferable argument for diversity lies in the social justice arena. The paper makes the point that business case arguments are demeaning to women whose appointment as NEDs should be supported on the grounds of social justice, reflecting their substantial participation in the economy and their absolute right to equality.

Keywords: Diversity Corporate Governance

JEL Classification: G39

Suggested Citation

Wheeler, Sally, Gender Diversity in the FTSE 100: The Business Case Claim Explored (July 6, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Sally Wheeler (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics