Women in Politics: The Effect on Board Diversity

48 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020

See all articles by Simi Kedia

Simi Kedia

Rutgers Business School

Ankur Pareek

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - College of Business

Date Written: December 8, 2020


In this paper we examine if gender issues highlighted in visible political races change gender biased social norms and impact subsequent women representation on corporate boards. Viable women candidates in US Senate, House and Gubernatorial elections significantly impact women board representation. Firms in districts that experience an increase in viable female candidates are associated with a significant increase in the growth of women directors that is increasing in the visibility of the female candidate. The gains in women corporate leadership are broader and extend to more board committees, a higher likelihood of being a top five executive and increase in relative compensation. Analysis around 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, an event that generated strong gender undertones and resulted in a surprise win substantiates the results. The surprise win for Donald Trump is associated with a significant subsequent drop in the growth of women directors on boards of firms headquartered in counties where Trump won. The results highlight that changes in the attitudes towards women leadership arising from women’s success in the political sphere are important in bringing about change in women corporate leadership.

Keywords: Women Politicians, Corporate Boards, Board Gender Diversity, 2016 Presidential Election

JEL Classification: G30, G34, P16

Suggested Citation

Kedia, Simi and Pareek, Ankur, Women in Politics: The Effect on Board Diversity (December 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3744512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3744512

Simi Kedia

Rutgers Business School ( email )

117 Levin
94 Rockafellar Road
Piscataway, NJ
United States
8484454195 (Phone)

Ankur Pareek (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - College of Business ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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