Sex, Trust, and Corporate Boards

26 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2007

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This article collects and interprets social science research on sex and trust and uses this work to shed new light on the emerging case for gender diversity on corporate boards. Specifically, the article describes social science research findings indicating (1) that men and women trust and are trustworthy on different bases and (2) that there is a bias against women in chief executive officer (and potentially other corporate leadership) positions. Based on this research, the nature of corporate management and control, and current legal scholarship on corporate governance, the article asserts that gender diversity on corporate boards may be desirable but difficult to attain. Ultimately, the article calls for more targeted research on the links among sex, trusting behavior, trustworthiness, and corporate board membership and also recommends that boards of directors pursue gender diversification in filling vacancies and new board slots as a means of diversifying trust in the corporation.

Keywords: trust, trustworthiness, sex, gender, board, directors, independence, diversity, bias, corporate governance

JEL Classification: D60, D63, D64, D69,D70,D78,G30,G34,J70,J71,K22,M10

Suggested Citation

Heminway, Joan MacLeod, Sex, Trust, and Corporate Boards. Hastings Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, p. 173, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Joan MacLeod Heminway (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-3813 (Phone)
865-974-0681 (Fax)

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