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 06 2020
SSRN Share

Keywords

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

We explore whether public attention to gender equality is associated with an increase in female board representation. We find that firms are sensitive to changes in public attention to gender equality. However, the effects are mostly driven by firms whose ex ante culture is more sympathetic to gender equality.

Greater female board representation is achieved thanks to the broadening of the pool of female directors and a reduction in the appointments of connected men, without any obvious compromises on directors’ quality. We show that public attention to gender equality is not merely driven by investor pressure and other corporate changes. Instead, changing societal demands driven by political and public events appear to be associated with changes in corporate leadership.

Authors

Real name:
Tracy Wang