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Women Directors On Public Company Boards: Does A Critical Mass Affect Leverage?, Cindy K. Harris Oct 2014

Women Directors On Public Company Boards: Does A Critical Mass Affect Leverage?, Cindy K. Harris

Business and Economics Faculty Publications

This study examines the relationship between corporate leverage (the ratio of total debt to total assets) and gender diversity on US public company boards, with particular focus on boards that have at least 25% women directors. Using this critical mass of women eliminates from consideration boards with lesser female representation, whose female directors may be marginalized in their contributions to board functioning and decision-making. I hypothesize that when boards have this minimum threshold of gender diversity, the influence of risk-averse female directors will impact board decisions related to financing, resulting in lower debt ratios when compared to boards with no ...