Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 55–63 | Cite as

Female Presence on Corporate Boards: A Multi-Country Study of Environmental Context

  • Siri Terjesen
  • Val Singh
Open Access


A growing body of ethics research investigates gender diversity and governance on corporate boards, at individual and firm levels, in single country studies. In this study, we explore the environmental context of female representation on corporate boards of directors, using data from 43 countries. We suggest that women’s representation on corporate boards may be shaped by the larger environment, including the social, political and economic structures of individual countries. We use logit regression to conduct our analysis. Our results indicate that countries with higher representation of women on boards are more likely to have women in senior management and more equal ratios of male to female pay. However, we find that countries with a longer tradition of women’s political representation are less likely to have high levels of female board representation.


corporate boards environmental context female directors gender multi-country pay gap political representation 



European Commission


European Union


Financial Times Stock Exchange


International Labor Organization


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


United Kingdom


United Nations Development Programme


United States


Women and Equality Unit


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brisbane Graduate School of BusinessQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public PolicyMax Planck Institute of EconomicsJenaGermany
  3. 3.Texas Christian UniversityFort WorthU.S.A.
  4. 4.Cranfield School of ManagementCranfield UniversityBedfordU.K.

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