Women in Politics: The Effect on Board Diversity

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Conference Proceeding

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In this paper we examine if gender issues highlighted in visible political races change gender biased social norms and impact subsequent women representation on corporate boards. Firms in districts that experience an increase in viable female candidates in House, Senate or Gubernatorial races are associated with a significant growth in the number of women directors that is increasing in the visibility of the female political candidate. We document that a viable female political candidate is associated with change in local gender attitudes and find that local institutional investors and directors play a significant role in influencing firms towards gender diversity. Analysis around 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, an event that generated strong gender undertones and resulted in a surprise win substantiates the results. The results highlight that change in the attitudes towards women leadership arising from women’s success in the political sphere are important in improving gender diversity in the corporate world.


Funding; Accounting; Trade


Business | Finance and Financial Management

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