Women’s Participation in Senior Management Positions: Gender Social Relations, Law and Corporate Governance

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We provide an empirical overview of women’s under-representation in positions of senior management in Brazil, including the board of directors and “C” level positions. We do so by collecting data on 73,901 top managerial positions of 837 different publicly held companies throughout sixteen years from 1997 until 2012.

We find that the proportion of women in top management positions in Brazilian companies is currently around 8% and relatively stagnant over the years under analysis. Around half of the companies did not appoint a single woman to their boards during the years under analysis, whereas around two-thirds did not exhibit at least one woman on their senior management teams.

We also investigate the corporate attributes associated with a higher or lower presence of women on board and top executive positions. Contrary to the common sense, we find that companies listed on the Novo Mercado as well as state-owned companies are associated with a lower presence of women on the board of directors. We conclude by discussing some possible institutional solutions, including the possibility of affirmative actions such as quotas, in order to promote higher gender equality at the top of the Brazilian corporate world.


Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Alexandre Di Miceli Da Silveira
University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) – School of Economics, Management and Accounting

Angela Rita Franco Donaggio
São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP

Lígia Paula Pires Pinto Sica
São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP

Luciana De Oliveira Ramos
Fundação Getulio Vargas FGV DIREITO SP – São Paulo Law School

October 10, 2014


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