In recent years, there has been a growing consensus that gender diversity could improve the economic and social performance of companies—although progress has been painfully slow. In Italy, Law n. 120/2011 has required that since 2012 the composition of corporate boards must comprise at least 1/5 women and, from 2015, 1/3 women. Here, our primary aim was to study the proportion and the progression of female directors on the boards of Italian companies over the period between 2009–2014, among a sample of 60 companies listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. We additionally studied the characteristics of the women on the companies’ boards, in order to assemble a typical profile. To do this, we verified the boards’ compositions, the number of female directors, women’s power on the boards and their levels of education. Our results confirm that Italian law has produced significant effects on the composition of corporate boards. Moreover, we found that female directors are generally of Italian ethnic origin and have high levels of education, with a master’s, and sometimes, post-master’s degree. Furthermore, female directors are more likely to be professional figures with experience—the percentages of female directors with professional qualifications as well as the percentage of female directors on boards of other companies have consistently increased during the period mentioned. Our findings provide a descriptive analysis of female directors during the period between 2009–2014, thereby presenting a picture of gender equality in the Italian context. To our knowledge, this is the first study that has focused on examining gender equality among Italian-listed companies over such a long period. Future development of this research could examine in more depth the differences between male and female presence, behaviour and characteristics on boards, as well as how these issues affect the performance of firms. This article is published as part of a collection on the role of women in management and the workplace.

Gender diversity on corporate boards: an empirical investigation of Italian listed companies / Solimene, Silvia; Coluccia, Daniela; Fontana, Stefano. - In: PALGRAVE COMMUNICATIONS. - ISSN 2055-1045. - ELETTRONICO. - (2017), pp. 1-7. [10.1057/palcomms.2016.109]

Gender diversity on corporate boards: an empirical investigation of Italian listed companies

SOLIMENE, SILVIA;COLUCCIA, DANIELA;FONTANA, STEFANO
2017

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing consensus that gender diversity could improve the economic and social performance of companies—although progress has been painfully slow. In Italy, Law n. 120/2011 has required that since 2012 the composition of corporate boards must comprise at least 1/5 women and, from 2015, 1/3 women. Here, our primary aim was to study the proportion and the progression of female directors on the boards of Italian companies over the period between 2009–2014, among a sample of 60 companies listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. We additionally studied the characteristics of the women on the companies’ boards, in order to assemble a typical profile. To do this, we verified the boards’ compositions, the number of female directors, women’s power on the boards and their levels of education. Our results confirm that Italian law has produced significant effects on the composition of corporate boards. Moreover, we found that female directors are generally of Italian ethnic origin and have high levels of education, with a master’s, and sometimes, post-master’s degree. Furthermore, female directors are more likely to be professional figures with experience—the percentages of female directors with professional qualifications as well as the percentage of female directors on boards of other companies have consistently increased during the period mentioned. Our findings provide a descriptive analysis of female directors during the period between 2009–2014, thereby presenting a picture of gender equality in the Italian context. To our knowledge, this is the first study that has focused on examining gender equality among Italian-listed companies over such a long period. Future development of this research could examine in more depth the differences between male and female presence, behaviour and characteristics on boards, as well as how these issues affect the performance of firms. This article is published as part of a collection on the role of women in management and the workplace.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/966309
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