, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 571-593
Date: 17 Nov 2010

Women on the boards of listed companies: Evidence from Finland

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Abstract

This paper investigates gender differences on the corporate boards of Finnish listed companies. The personal characteristics, careers, and boardroom roles of female and male directors on boards were analyzed on the basis of empirical data collected by questionnaire. An analysis of the findings revealed only minor differences between the women and men in personal characteristics such as their marital status, number of children and education, or in their careers. However, female board members were on average younger than their male counterparts and considered themselves to be more protean, took more active roles on the board, and enjoyed power more than men did. They also felt a need for more women on the board. The goal of this study is to contribute to the existing research in two ways. Firstly, it provides empirical evidence on women’s representation on boards from Finland, where women’s and men’s rights are regarded as more equal than in many other countries. Secondly, the study aims to increase our knowledge of gender differences, careers and roles of women in top positions in Finnish business.