Women on Boards in Italy

CONSOB Working Paper No. 70

41 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2011

Date Written: October 18, 2011


In this paper we investigate the state of the art of women representation in Italian corporate boards, trying also to assess its determinants. We find that female presence still concerns the minority of companies and a small number of women. Moreover, female directorship is associated to some characteristics of firms and of women themselves, depending in particular on whether they are related (through family links) to the controlling agent. Two very different models emerge. On the one hand, family-affiliated women are more present in smaller companies, with a concentrated ownership operating in the consumers sector. On the other hand, not-affiliated women are more common in widely held companies or in firms owned by a foreign shareholder, in the IT/telecommunication sector, and in companies with younger and more independent boards. In both models the presence of institutional investors and board size positively affect female representation. Finally, we investigate possible relationships between gender diversity and some performance and governance outcomes. While we find no correlation between women representation and performance, the relationship with some “good governance” proxies seems to be negative. Specifically, the average board attendance and the number of board meetings are lower in diverse-board companies, though the latter result is mainly driven by family-affiliated women.

Keywords: gender, diversity, board of directors

JEL Classification: G30, G32, G34, J16

Suggested Citation

Bianco, Magda and Ciavarella, Angela and Signoretti, Rossella, Women on Boards in Italy (October 18, 2011). CONSOB Working Paper No. 70, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1945855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1945855

Magda Bianco

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Angela Ciavarella (Contact Author)

CONSOB ( email )

Roma 00198

Rossella Signoretti

CONSOB ( email )

Roma 00198

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