Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors

Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors

Mariassunta Giannetti, Tracy Wang

Series number :

Serial Number: 
667/2020

Date posted :

March 24 2020

Last revised :

March 24 2020
SSRN Share

Keywords

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

We explore whether demand factors contribute to low female board participation. We use timevarying public attention to gender equality as a shock that differentially affects the demand for female directors of firms with different ex ante culture towards gender equality.

We find that public attention is associated with an increase in female board representation, especially in firms whose ex ante culture is more sympathetic to gender equality. Furthermore, public attention to gender equality changes the way female directors are recruited. First, the pool of female directors broadens without any obvious compromises on quality. Second, public attention to gender equality reduces the probability that connected men are appointed, leading to higher female board representation.
 

Authors

Real name:
Tracy Wang