March 2021 (Revised August 2021)

Gender and Professional Networks on Bank Boards

Ann L. Owen, Judit Temesvary and Andrew Wei


Women are underrepresented on bank boards. Using a newly compiled dataset of bank board membership over the 1999-2018 period, we find that within-board professional networks are extensive, but female board members are significantly less connected than male directors, both in number and length of connections. We also find that professional networks play an important role in determining the appointment of bank board directors. Connections also positively impact compensation for female directors, especially connections to other women. These results suggest that there are differences in the breadth, depth, and value of the professional networks of male and female board members and that these differences could be a contributing channel through which women’s underrepresentation on boards prevails.

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Keywords: bank boards; professional networks; gender; gender diversity


PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: March 22, 2021