Traditionally, the business world is considered to be " a world of men”. What caused the scarcity of female executives? Most extant studies are from the supply perspective, seeking the answers through individual characteristics and family factors of female executives. There are also studies showing that women are encountering " career ceiling” problem because of the external institutional obstacles, which is caused by gender bias from the demand perspective. In another word, because current senior executives and the boards of companies are mostly dominated by men, they probably tend to prevent women from entering the powerful social networks due to their habits of gender-discrimination and gender-stereotype. What’s more, generally speaking, there is a momentum of small female group in the board of a company. But if there were female members at the senior executive level, would it be different? In this paper, based on social identity theory and social network theory, the gender spillover effect of female directors on female senior managers is tested by using the systemic generalized method of moments （GMM） model. The data of listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen from 2003 to 2013 is analyzed. On the basis of controlling the variables of firm characteristics, ownership characteristics and corporate governance characteristics, it arrives at the results as follows: firstly, the number of female directors has a positive effect on that of female senior managers, and the effect lags; secondly, after the further study, the results show female non-independent directors have a significantly positive impact on the number of female senior managers, while female independent directors have no significant impacts on the number of female senior managers; thirdly, female directors affect female senior managers through nominating committees, and this gender spillover effect only exists in companies which set up nominating committees; finally, the gender spillover effect of female directors on female senior managers in Chinese listed companies is hampered by identity factors and is suppressed in industries which have a larger number of female senior managers, such as service industries and industries with high female employment rates. In order to test the reliability of the above research conclusions, this paper adopts two methods, namely, variable substitution and adjustment of sample size, to carry out the robustness test. The results show that the research conclusions are unchanged. The conclusions of this paper have the following important implications for the optimization of top management team structure and the improvement of corporate governance: firstly, companies should establish more female models. Woman directors or woman senior managers who are at their former or current positions should be organized to play a positive gender spillover effect by communicating and interacting with each other, for example, by setting up a sisterhood of directors or elite league of business women. Secondly, the role of nominating committees in the appointment of female executives should be given high attention to. The establishment of nominating committees helps enhance the legitimacy, fairness and independence of the selection of directors and executives, enabling more qualified women to be candidates for senior managers. Thirdly, in order to produce an advantage of women’s participation in corporate governance, industry factors should be given full consideration in appointment of female executives combined with the gender characteristics of women. Finally, listed companies should keep vigilance against the obstacle of ‘status symbols’ phenomenon in the selection of executives. The selection should be based on the qualifications and actual abilities of the candidates, but not on gender factor. This paper provides incremental empirical evidence for understanding the scarcity of female executives in Chinese listed companies from the perspective of demand. What is more, it reveals the gender spillover effect in female executives and provides a new train of thought and reference for relevant policy-making for promoting the development of women and achieving gender equality in China.
Same-sex Attraction or Same-sex Repulsion: A Study on the Gender Spillover Effect of Female Directors on Female Senior Managers in Chinese Listed Companies
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 39, Issue 12, pp. 84 - 99 (2017) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2017.12.006
 Adams R B, Ferreira D. Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance[J]. Journal of Financial Economics, 2009, 94(2): 291-309.
 Bell L A. Women-led firms and the gender gap in top executive jobs[R]. IZA Discussion Papers No.1689, 2005.
 Bilimoria D. The relationship between women corporate directors and women corporate officers[J]. Journal of Managerial Issues, 2006, 18(1): 47-61.
 Burke R J. Women on corporate boards of directors: A needed resource[J]. Journal of Business Ethics, 1997, 16(9): 909-915.
 de Cabo R M, Gimeno R, Escot L. Disentangling discrimination on Spanish boards of directors[J]. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2011, 19(1): 77-95.
 Doldor E, Vinnicombe S, Gaughan M, et al. Gender diversity on boards: The appointment process and the role of executive search firms[R]. Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report Paper No.85, 2012.
 Elkinawy S, Stater M. Gender differences in executive compensation: Variation with board gender composition and time[J]. Journal of Economics and Business, 2011, 63(1): 23-45.
 Grosvold J, Brammer S. National institutional systems as antecedents of female board representation: An empirical study[J]. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2011, 19(2): 116-135.
 Grosvold J. Where are all the women? Institutional context and the prevalence of women on the corporate board of directors[J]. Business & Society, 2011, 50(3): 531-555.
 Hillman A J, Shropshire C, Cannella A A Jr. Organizational predictors of women on corporate boards[J]. Academy of Management Journal, 2007, 50(4): 941-952.
 Kanter R M. Men and women of the corporation[M]. New York: Basic Books, 1977.
 Lv Ying，Wang Zhengbin，An Shimin. The Review on Theoretical Foundation and Empirical Study of Women Directors’ Effect on Corporate Social Responsibility[J]. Foreign Economies and Management,2014,34(2):73-81.
 Matsa D A, Miller A R. Chipping away at the glass ceiling: Gender spillovers in corporate leadership[J]. American Economic Review, 2011, 101(3): 635-639.
 Nekhili M, Gatfaoui H. Are demographic attributes and firm characteristics drivers of gender diversity? Investigating women’s positions on french boards of directors[J]. Journal of Business Ethics, 2013, 118(2): 227-249.
 Nielsen S, Huse M. The contribution of women on boards of directors: Going beyond the surface[J]. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2010, 18(2): 136-148.
 Oakley J G. Gender-based barriers to senior management positions: Understanding the scarcity of female CEOs[J]. Journal of Business Ethics, 2000, 27(4): 321-334.
 Perryman A A, Fernando G D, Tripathy A. Do gender differences persist? An examination of gender diversity on firm performance, risk, and executive compensation[J]. Journal of Business Research, 2016, 69(2): 579-586.
 Saeed A, Belghitar Y, Yousaf A. Firm-level determinants of gender diversity in the boardrooms: Evidence from some emerging markets[J]. International Business Review, 2016, 25(5): 1076-1088.
 Sheridan A, Milgate G. “She says, he says”: Women’s and men’s views of the composition of boards[J]. Women in Management Review, 2003, 18(3): 147-154.
 Sheridan A, Milgate G. Accessing board positions: a comparison of female and male board members’ views[J]. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2005, 13(6): 847-855.
 Singh V, Vinnicombe S. Why so few women directors in top UK boardrooms? Evidence and theoretical explanations[J]. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2004, 12(4): 479-488.
 Vafeas N. The nature of board nominating committees and their role in corporate governance[J]. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 1999, 26(1-2): 199-225.
 Wang M Z, Kelan E. The gender quota and female leadership: Effects of the Norwegian gender quota on board chairs and CEOs[J]. Journal of Business Ethics, 2013, 117(3): 449-466.
 Zhang Zhaoguo,Jin Xiaocui, Li Genqin. An Empirical Study on the Interactive and Inter-temporal Influence between Corporate Social
Cite this article
Lü Ying, Wang Zhengbin. Same-sex Attraction or Same-sex Repulsion: A Study on the Gender Spillover Effect of Female Directors on Female Senior Managers in Chinese Listed Companies[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2017, 39(12): 84–99.