What Prevents Women from Reaching the Top?
46 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016 Last revised: 10 Feb 2022
Date Written: February 7, 2022
We use rich data on all business, economics, and engineering graduates in Sweden to study the lack of women among CEOs. A comprehensive battery of graduates’ characteristics explains 40% of the gender gaps in CEO appointments, and 60% among graduates with children. The explanatory power mostly comes from absences and unemployment, which are about twice as likely for women as men. These gender differences increase following childbirth, and they persist in the long run. We present and discuss potential explanations to the explained and remaining gaps. Although the large unexplained share makes it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the gender gap in CEO appointments, the large contribution of labor market attachment to the explained share suggests work-family trade-oﬀs are an important part of the story.
Keywords: CEOs, gender gap, labor market attachment, family, qualifications
JEL Classification: G34; J16; J24; J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation