Gender diversity and financial performance in executive positions in German companies

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An underrepresentation of women in executive positions has persisted for decades. This paper aims to analyze the financial impact of women in executive positions in German companies by examining the economic value added and exploring the effects of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors and female supervisory board members on female board members. The results indicate that in the 200 largest German companies, the share of female executives increased between 2018 and 2022. Regardless of industry, female executives started at very low levels at around 4% in 2018; in 2022, this figure reached around 11%. Thereby, the financial sector showed the highest share of female executives at around 14% in 2022, and the industrial sector at around 9%. A closer look reveals that large companies have higher shares of female executives than smaller companies. Large companies show an average of 17% compared to small ones, and in 2022, only 8%. There is a positive correlation between the share of female supervisory board members and female executives, arguing that female supervisory board members seem to hire more female executives. Companies with more female executives tend to have lower ESG controversy scores, and companies with more female executives, measured by the economic value added, perform better financially than companies with few or no women. Companies with female executives show about 2 percentage points higher economic value added than those with the lowest share of females (no or few female executives). Thus, it seems that female executives matter and make a difference in companies.

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    • Figure 1. Female executive members in German top 200 companies
    • Figure 2. Share of female supervisory board members and related female executives
    • Figure 3. EVA shortfall sorted by the number of female executives
    • Table 1. Summary statistics
    • Table 2. Female executive members in German top 200 companies by sector
    • Table 3. Controversies based on female executive representation
    • Conceptualization
      Felix Roessle, Kathrin Roessle
    • Data curation
      Felix Roessle
    • Formal Analysis
      Felix Roessle
    • Investigation
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann
    • Methodology
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann
    • Resources
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann, Kathrin Roessle
    • Visualization
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann, Kathrin Roessle
    • Writing – original draft
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann
    • Writing – review & editing
      Felix Roessle, Carolin Fleischmann, Kathrin Roessle
    • Validation
      Carolin Fleischmann, Kathrin Roessle
    • Funding acquisition
      Kathrin Roessle
    • Project administration
      Kathrin Roessle
    • Supervision
      Kathrin Roessle