Does your CEO have a daughter?

by Adelle Chua07 Dec 2017
Having a child often changes how a person views the world and, according to one recent study, it seems this altered attitude even reaches the workplace.

According to a paper published in the December issue of Journal of Financial Economics, CEOs with daughters scored higher in corporate social responsibility and were more likely to make decisions that lead to greater workplace equality.

The mere fact of having a daughter opens executives’ eyes to gender-related issues they might not otherwise be aware of, said co-author Henrik Cronqvist, who is the chairman of the department of finance at the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration.

The research also revealed that a company’s corporate social responsibility rating is 9.1 per cent higher than that of a median firm if the CEO has a daughter.

Incredibly, the study also found that when a new CEO who has a daughter comes on board, the company becomes more socially responsible. The opposite happens when a CEO without a daughter joins the company.

Sociology professor Barbara Risman told the Wallstreet Journal that having a daughter was not the only factor shaping how CEOs act but it certainly does have an impact.

“Fathers of daughters want their daughters to have equal opportunities in the world,” she told the news outlet. “They see the inequities that women face, and that makes them more open to thinking about inequity in general.”

Other studies that support this are:
  • A 2008 American Economic Review paper which found that US congressmen vote more liberally, especially on issues affecting women, when they have more daughters.
  • A 2015 American Journal of Political Science paper which found that federal judges, primarily Republican, with daughters,  consistently vote “in a more feminist fashion” on gender issues compared to judges with only sons,
  • A working paper by two Harvard University professors shows that parenting more daughters cause decisionmakers in venture capital firms to hire more female partners.

The study used data from 416 CEOs across S&P 500 companies and provides an update to a previous report published in 2015.
 

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