Les femmes au sein des conseils d'administration : Un bilan des connaissances

This paper aims to provide a synthesis of prior conceptual and empirical work on the presence of women on corporate boards. Despite much progress in many spheres of society, the presence of women on the boards of North American listed firms has remained relatively stagnant over the past 20 years, with many firms still having all-male boards. The weak presence, as well as the lack of substantive progress over time, raises questions about the fairness and lack of bias in the process underlying board appointments. Several factors – structural and individual – prevent or constrain progress in the appointment of women on corporate boards. Such lack of progress is surprising despite the many potential advantages of gender diversity at the board level. Many countries and firms have implemented various means or activities to accelerate and raise women`s presence on boards. The advantages and disadvantages of such means and activities are reviewed and formal recommendations are put forward for firms that are interested in raising their board`s gender diversity. However, as individuals, women also carry a share of the responsibility for their advancement on boards. We conclude with some comments and a synthesis of prior empirical research on board diversity, pointing out the limitations of such research.
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