People walk down Broadway past the Wall Street subway station in New York September 15, 2008.

Publication Type

Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey

Working Papers 16-3
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Chip East



Analysis of a global survey of 21,980 firms from 91 countries reveals the relative dearth of women in high leadership positions. The results suggest that the presence of women in corporate leadership positions may improve firm performance. This correlation could reflect either the payoff to nondiscrimination or the fact that women increase a firm’s skill diversity. Women’s presence in corporate leadership is positively correlated with firm characteristics such as size as well as national characteristics such as girls’ math scores, the absence of discriminatory attitudes toward female executives, and the availability of paternal leave. The results find no impact of board gender quotas on firm performance, but they suggest that the payoffs of policies that facilitate women rising through the corporate ranks more broadly could be significant.

Data Disclosure:

Data disclosure: The data underlying this analysis are below:

The referenced media source is missing and needs to be re-embedded.