The global discussion about gender diversity on public company boards continues. Despite practices in several countries like the adoption of quotas, and significant efforts undertaken by a number of organizations in the US to increase gender diversity of directors, the number of women serving as directors has not changed significantly over the last six years. (18% of all S&P 500 directors are now female compared to 16% in 20081. Additionally, a number of academic studies have recently been published attempting to prove or disprove a causal relationship between gender diversity on boards and company performance.
Within this context, there are two fundamental questions about gender representation and director performance that deserve to be asked:
Are there really differences in how male and female directors approach their oversight roles?
Do the practices of boards with female directors vary from those of other boards?
This report addresses these questions by looking at what male and female directors told us about their individual perspectives and the boards on which they serve, and our survey findings show that male and female directors clearly do have different perspectives on some important corporate governance issues. In some areas, practices differ for boards that have female director representation.
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