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Female directors on corporate boards and their impact on corporate social responsibility (CSR): evidence from China

Waqas Bin Khidmat (Department of Business Administration, Air University Islamabad, Kamra Campus, Attock, Pakistan)
Muhammad Danish Habib (Department of Business Administration, Air University Islamabad, Kamra Campus, Attock, Pakistan)
Sadia Awan (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Kashif Raza (IPFP Fellow, University of Education Faisalabad Campus, Faisalabad, Pakistan)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 16 September 2021

Issue publication date: 15 March 2022




This study aims to examine the determinants of the female representations on Chinese listed firm’s boards. This study also investigates the effect of gender diversity on corporate social responsibility activities.


The Tobit regression model is used because the data is censored and using ordinary least square regression can give spurious results. For robust check, the authors also used Heckman’s (1979) two-stage self-selection model to remove the sample self-selection bias.


The authors find that the female representations on the corporate board are positively associated with firm age, firm performance, corporate governance, family ownership, institutional ownership and managerial ownership while negatively related to firm size and state ownership. This study also incorporates predictors of the critical mass of women on the Chinese listed firm’s board. The study also tests the female-led hypothesis and concludes that the female representation increases in firms with female chief executive officer (CEO) or female chairpersons. The Chinese listed firms with gender-diverse board are socially responsible.

Research limitations/implications

The importance of diversity in corporate boards has been demonstrated in light of the agency theory and the resource dependence framework. The results contribute to the previous literature by documenting the determinants of female representations on board, robust by alternative measures of gender diversity, firm size, corporate governance and estimation techniques.

Practical implications

The economic significance of gender diversity stirred the firms to increase female representation. The policymakers can understand the reasons for female underrepresentation in Chinese boards and can reform the regulation to enhance governance quality, non-state ownership and risk aversion among the listed firms.


This study contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence on the key predictor of the world’s largest emerging economy, specifically the study focuses on the firm specific determinants, different governance attributes, ownership structure and firm risk measures. This study also seeks to answer if the presence of a female in the Chairperson or CEO position encourages the firms to hire more female directors or not?



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest: The author reports no affiliation or involvement in an organization or entity with a financial or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


Khidmat, W.B., Habib, M.D., Awan, S. and Raza, K. (2022), "Female directors on corporate boards and their impact on corporate social responsibility (CSR): evidence from China", Management Research Review, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 563-595.



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