Parallel Networks and Opportunities for Women Directors

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Title: Parallel Networks and Opportunities for Women Directors
Author: Tomkoria, Amita
Advisor: Bell, Linda A.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Economics
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 151937 bytes74546 bytes
Issue Date: 2006
Abstract: In 1998, women comprised 46 percent of the labor force and 49 percent of managerial and professional positions. However, in 1998 women made up only 11.1 percent of directors of Fortune 500 companies. In 2005 this number increased to just 14.7 percent, which demonstrates the slow rate of progress. At this rate, it will take 70 years for women to reach parity with men. This study seeks to provide a thorough illustration of the nature of female representation on US corporate boards and, in doing so, make some progress toward identifying factors which inhibit or promote the instance of women directors. Using data from IRRC Directors, I look at the effects of gender on attaining positions of power such as board chair and committee chair while correcting for various director and company attributes. I also examine the potential existence of a new girls’ network as a parallel to the old boys’ network that traditionally dominates the director selection process. My results show that women are up to 25 percent less likely to hold positions of power than their male counterparts. Women in female-led companies have a higher likelihood of being represented in these positions, which confirms the existence of a parallel network and illustrates the ability of women to promote other women.
Subject: Women executives -- United States
Subject: Directors of corporations -- United States
Subject: Women -- Social networks -- United States
Subject: Sex discrimination in employment -- United States
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Tomkoria, Amita. "Parallel Networks and Opportunities for Women Directors". 2006. Available electronically from

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