A Review of the Current Situation of Gender Diverse Corporate Boards and the Impact of More Diversity

Jón Snorri Snorrason


This paper gives an overview over the number of women serving on corporate boards both in Iceland and abroad. Women hold only around 20% of boards seats and similar number of women is in top managements. It will analyse the development and find plausible explanations of the present situation and introduce recent research papers in this field and explore the impact of more diversity and on firm performance. Are more gender diverse boards likely to perform better then firms lacking the diversity? Will diversity and increased number of women on boards have positive influence on the number of women in top management positions in the same firms? The evidence in the research papers is inconclusive of the effects of gender diversity on firm performance, but better performing firms tend to have more women on the board. We will see positive relation between corporate and board size and the representation of women the boards but find the inverse relation in Iceland. The requirements by law that a minimum fraction of the firm´s board members to be of a certain gender will call for a dramatic improvement on the current situation. Finally we explore the possibilities in the ways firms will increase the number of women on boards to meet the mandating gender diversity before the deadline set by the regulators.


Board members; diversity; women; firm performance.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2012.8.1.4


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