Net effects: examining strategies for women’s inclusion and influence in ASX200 company boards

Applied Network Science(2022)

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Conventional approaches to improving the representation of women on the boards of major companies typically focus on increasing the number of women appointed to these positions. We show that this strategy alone does not improve gender equity. Instead of relying on aggregate statistics (“headcounts”) to evaluate women’s inclusion, we use network analysis to identify and examine two types of influence in corporate board networks: local influence measured by degree centrality and global influence measured by betweenness centrality and k-core centrality. Comparing board membership data from Australia’s largest 200 listed companies in the ASX200 index in 2015 and 2018 respectively, we demonstrate that despite an increase in the number of women holding board seats during this time, their agency in terms of these network measures remains substantively unchanged. We argue that network analysis offers more nuanced approaches to measuring women’s inclusion in organizational networks and will facilitate more successful outcomes for gender diversity and equity.
Gender equity, Social network analysis, Company boards, ASX200
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