Women on Boards: The Superheroes of Tomorrow?

60 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2015 Last revised: 15 Apr 2016

Date Written: March 2016


Can female directors help save economies and the firms on whose boards they sit? Policy makers seem to think so. Numerous countries have implemented boardroom gender policies because of business case arguments. While women may be the key to healthy economies, I argue that more research needs to be done to understand the benefits of board diversity. The literature faces three main challenges: data limitations, selection and causal inference. Recognizing and dealing with these challenges is important for developing informed research and policy. Negative stereotypes may be one reason women are underrepresented in management. It is not clear that promoting them on the basis of positive stereotypes does them, or society, a service.

Keywords: Gender, Boards of Directors, Business Case, Selection, Causal Inference, Policy, Quota

JEL Classification: J16, J22, G34, G38

Suggested Citation

Adams, Renée B., Women on Boards: The Superheroes of Tomorrow? (March 2016). European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Finance Working Paper No. 466/2016, FIRN Research Paper No. 2696804, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2696804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2696804

Renée B. Adams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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