SIM seminar by Rahul Anand

Gender Quotas Enter Emerging Market Boardrooms: Evidence of Substantive Progress or Pinkwashing?

Info about event


Thursday 13 June 2024,  at 12:00 - 13:00




SIM Section, MGMT

The SIM Section invites you to a SIM Research Seminar where Rahul Anand will give the following presentation:

Gender Quotas Enter Emerging Market Boardrooms: Evidence of Substantive Progress or Pinkwashing?
Co-authored with Venkat Kuppuswamy and Ruth Arguilers (Northeastern University, Boston)


As gender quotas on corporate boards have diffused outside the Western context, most notably to emerging markets, they have evolved in one key respect – the mandated quota threshold has lowered considerably to a single female board member. We examine how firms respond to ‘single-woman’ board quotas and investigate the most critical issue associated with these quotas – do they produce substantive change or is change merely symbolic? We leverage the passage of the 2013 Companies Act in India that mandated one woman on corporate boards. Despite widespread concern that Indian firms would fulfill their regulatory obligation by appointing insider women, we discover that female directors appointed following the quota were significantly more independent than female directors appointed prior to this mandate. Nevertheless, we uncover that female directors were less likely to be appointed to key board committees than male directors on the same board, including new male directors. Our findings suggest that firms ‘pinkwash,’ i.e., they engage in organizational decoupling whereby substantive appointments to the board (independent women) are offset by more symbolic representation with respect to key board committees. Furthermore, symbolic representation is greater for women appointed following gender quotas than for women appointed before the mandate. This paper contributes to the rich literatures on board diversity, board design, and human capital by examining the effectiveness of regulation in reducing social inequalities in emerging markets. In the process, we analyze policy makers’ decision in emerging markets to import corporate governance practices that target social inequalities from more developed contexts.


Everyone is welcome!