Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 177–196 | Cite as

Women’s Roles on U.S. Fortune 500 Boards: Director Expertise and Committee Memberships

  • Craig A. Peterson
  • James PhilpotEmail author


This study examines the presence and roles of female directors of U.S. Fortune 500 firms, focusing on committee assignments and director background. Prior work from almost two decades ago concludes that there is a systematic bias against females in assignment to top board committees. Examining a recent data set with a logistic regression model that controls for director and firm characteristics, director resource-dependence roles and interaction between director gender and director characteristics, we find that female directors are less likely than male directors to sit on executive committees and more likely than male directors to sit on public affairs committees. There is little if any evidence of systematic gender bias in director assignment to other board committees. We find some evidence that boards evaluate resource dependence differently for women than men.


boards of directors board committees corporate governance gender issues resource dependence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Michigan UniversityGrand RapidsU.S.A.
  2. 2.Finance and General BusinessMissouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA

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