Public Attention to Gender Equality and Board Gender Diversity

Public Attention to Gender Equality and Board Gender Diversity

Mariassunta Giannetti, Tracy Wang

Series number :

Serial Number: 
667/2020

Date posted :

March 24 2020

Last revised :

August 17 2021
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Keywords

  • boards • 
  • Gender • 
  • Public Attention • 
  • networks • 
  • Connections • 
  • homophily • 
  • corporate culture

We document that heightened public attention to gender equality is associated with an overall increase in board gender diversity. Improvements in diversity are more pronounced in firms with a corporate culture that is already sympathetic to gender equality.

When public attention to gender equality increases, firms reach out to a larger pool of women, such as women without industry experience or outside their network, but female director appointments do not appear to be dilutive of the board’s skills. Instead, we observe less reliance on connections for the appointments of both male and female directors and a decrease in homophilistic biases.

Authors

Professor
Real name:
Tracy Wang
University of Minnesota