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Female board directorship and earnings management

Yosra Mnif (Department of Accounting, Taxation and Law, High Institute of Business Administration of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Imen Cherif (Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 30 November 2020

Issue publication date: 4 August 2021




This paper aims to examine the impact of female board directorship on the extent of earnings management.


The research hypotheses have been tested using both univariate and multivariate analyzes based on a sample of 198 firm-year observations from closely-held family firms listed on the SBF 120 over the period 2010–2018.


The empirical results first indicate that female board participation reduces the level of earnings management. When looking at women positions in the companies’ boardrooms, the authors reveal that the negative linkage between female board directorship and earnings management remains constant for independent female directors while the opposite holds for their family-affiliated counterparts. Further, the gender quota reform is shown to mitigate the adverse relationship between gender-diverse corporate boards and the extent of earnings management. These results seem sound, as they hold unchanged for the several measures of, both, boardroom gender diversity and earnings management used in the empirical study. In a supplementary analysis, the authors provide evidence that the association between the presence of women directors on the companies’ boards and earnings management depends, in a different way, on the size of the audit firm in a joint auditing context.


The country and the period considered in this paper are noteworthy characteristics that enhance the value of this research. The present study is relevant because it examines the relationship between female boardroom participation and earnings management using a homogeneous sample of family-owned and -managed companies within which shareholders and board members share identical motives for manipulating earnings in one of the leading countries in the world with regard to family ownership dominance (i.e. France). Moreover, this paper is considered to be very timely, as it explores, contrarily to previous related studies, the years following the implementation of a mandatory gender quota reform in one of the less available countries, to date, that have amended a gender quota law. To the knowledge, besides France, there are a few markets (Norway, Belgium, Finland and Iceland) that have implemented such legislation.



The authors would like to thank the editor, professor Whiting, Ros, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, suggestions and guidance on the article.


Mnif, Y. and Cherif, I. (2021), "Female board directorship and earnings management", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 114-141.



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