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New research studies on boardroom diversity suggests gender quotas may not damage shareholder value and highlight that more needs to be done to increase the supply of women to boardrooms.
of women, which should be paired with policies for a better work-life balance for both genders.”
A US study echoes this concern about the supply side of women to board level. The study, Supply and demand side determinants of board gender imbalance: The US evidence led by Patricia Boyallian from Lancaster University Management School, examined why women are still heavily underrepresented in US boardrooms at a time when many countries are introducing policies such as gender quotas to achieve greater gender balance in boards. To understand this the researchers studied how successful women are, relative to men, in finding a second board appointment after an initial appointment.
They find that women do better than comparable men in terms of the quality, likelihood and speed of the second appointment. With regard to first appointments, however, they find that women tend to have significantly less leadership and work experience in quoted firms than men. They say: “Our findings are consistent with underrepresentation of women being more a consequence of supply side factors: in particular, a lack of opportunities for women to rise up the corporate ladder, so that only a small number of exceptionally capable women manage to be on the radar of nomination committees.”
A fourth study, based on a study of a South African affirmative action policy by Anna Minasyan and Stephan Klasen, suggests incentivised gender-based targets for senior managerial positions are likely to be more effective than quotas in increasing the representation of women at the top. It shows the affirmative action policy helped to increase the share of black women in top management positions from 18% in 2003 to 45% in 2015 of all black men and women at the senior level.