General Shareholder Meetings as a Medium for Citizen Activism for Promoting Socially Desirable Outcomes; the case of Gender Diversity in Boards
14 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 16 Jun 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2020
We empirically examine the effect of citizen activism at the annual general shareholder meetings of listed companies related to gender diversity in corporate boards. Based on a sample of 231 general shareholders meetings that took place over a period of seven years between 2013 to 2019, we find that questions asked by activist shareholders about the board diversity policies led to a significantly higher appointment of female directors compared to the matching sample. We conclude that electronic general assemblies that provide for low cost participation of shareholders, can facilitate socially motivated shareholder interventions that may shape corporate governance choices.
Keywords: Gender, Boards, Engagement, Shareholder Activism, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility
JEL Classification: G30, K22, G38
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