Women and M&A
12 UC Irvine Law Review (2022 Forthcoming)
64 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2021 Last revised: 8 Feb 2022
Date Written: August 3, 2021
Corporations, law firms and investment banks all state that diversity matters. This Article shows that there is a chasm between discourse and action. For the most important decisions undertaken by companies—large merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions—a gender gap persists. This Article provides a holistic examination of the entire network of lead actors involved in M&A, revealing that women’s leadership opportunities continue to be vastly unequal. Using hand-collected data from 700 transactions, this Article reveals that thirty years after women began to account for almost half of all law students, gender parity in M&A leadership lags far behind. To illustrate, over a 7-year period, women make up on average 10.5% of lead legal advisors for buyers in M&A. Moreover, this Article documents the lack of transparency on leadership data for other players in M&A. This Article argues that understanding, documenting, and disclosing the gender gap in M&A leadership is critical for increasing accountability and for determining the solutions that may work to reduce such disparities.
Keywords: mergers, acquisitions, M&A, women, board, diversity, management, law firms, financial advisors
JEL Classification: K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation