Realizing Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards

Wei Kang, John K. Ashton (Lead / Corresponding author), Ayan Orujov, Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the effectiveness of soft law through scrutinizing national policies for enhancing the proportion of women on corporate boards. Soft laws, which have less precision and obligation dimensions than conventional laws, are widespread within financial regulation. Despite this widespread use there relative performance is unexplored. To resolve this, we undertake a comparative examination of 14,012 firms from 99 nations, using a three-stage analysis to examine the effect of different policies, their format and influence of institutional factors on female board representation. We report that soft laws are effective for promoting gender equality on corporate boards. The effectiveness of policies is strongly influenced by the enforcement, implementation and compliance dimensions of policy, and institutional factors. Policies are most potent when enforced using a moderate level of sanctions, with a longer compliance period and a diversity target less distant from a firm’s precedent gender diversity level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of the Economics of Business
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2022


  • Gender equality
  • gender quotas
  • policy
  • regulatory principles
  • soft law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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