Women’s Roles on U.S. Fortune 500 Boards: Director Expertise and Committee Memberships

Journal of Business Ethics 72 (2):177-196 (2007)

This study examines the presence and roles of female directors of U.S. Fortune 500 firms, focusing on committee assignments and director background. Prior work from almost two decades ago concludes that there is a systematic bias against females in assignment to top board committees. Examining a recent data set with a logistic regression model that controls for director and firm characteristics, director resource-dependence roles and interaction between director gender and director characteristics, we find that female directors are less likely than male directors to sit on executive committees and more likely than male directors to sit on public affairs committees. There is little if any evidence of systematic gender bias in director assignment to other board committees. We find some evidence that boards evaluate resource dependence differently for women than men.
Keywords Philosophy   Quality of Life Research   Management   Economic Growth   Ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-006-9164-8
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