Old Glass Ceilings are Hard to Break: Gender Usage Trends in Annual Reports

25 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2014 Last revised: 11 Mar 2015

Tim Loughran

University of Notre Dame

Bill McDonald

University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business - Department of Finance

Date Written: March 11, 2015

Abstract

We examine gender usage in a sample of 89,195 annual reports filed with the SEC during 1996-2013. We find that, after adjusting for other effects, annual reports by younger firms use proportionally more female-linked words than documents created by older, more mature companies. This finding likely reflects gender-related cultural differences between young and old firms. We also report that gender usage differs dramatically across both industry and market values of equity. Historically male dominated industries and industries that do not sell directly to retail customers have lower ratios of female/male word usage while industries characterized as business-to-consumer have substantially higher relative female counts. Larger companies have higher public accountability and thus, as expected, have annual report language that more frequently uses female titles and personal pronouns.

Keywords: EDGAR; gender; firm age; annual reports; textual analysis.

Suggested Citation

Loughran, Tim and McDonald, Bill, Old Glass Ceilings are Hard to Break: Gender Usage Trends in Annual Reports (March 11, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2529633 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2529633

Tim Loughran (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame ( email )

Department of Finance
245 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States
574-631-8432 (Phone)
574-631-5255 (Fax)

Bill McDonald

University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 399
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0399
United States

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