Corporate elites have been male bastions until very recently and businesswomen have been very few and difficult to track. This paper addresses this topic by investigating the presence of women among the directors of the top 250 Italian joint-stock companies in eleven benchmark years spanning from 1913 to 2017. It shows a male preponderance throughout the period investigated. Women were nearly totally excluded from Italian boards until the end of the 20th century and their number showed a sizeable increase only after the turn of the century. Women also occupied marginal positions in the boards: very few of them held multiple directorships and the first female interlocker appeared only in 1972. In a country dominated by family capitalism, for a long time the very few women directors sat on the boards of family firms and were members of the families that owned these firms. The presence of women in Italian corporate boards was boosted in recent years by the introduction in 2011 of mandatory gender quotas for listed firms and for firms participated by the state. This law provided legitimacy to the appointment of women on boards also in other firms not affected by the new regulation. The massive increase in seats held by women led to a professionalisation of female directors in Italy, even though women are still largely excluded from top executive positions.

Women directors in Italy: 1913–2017 / Rinaldi, Alberto; Tagliazucchi, Giulia. - In: BUSINESS HISTORY. - ISSN 0007-6791. - (2022), pp. 1-25. [10.1080/00076791.2021.2015332]

Women directors in Italy: 1913–2017

Rinaldi, Alberto
;
Tagliazucchi, Giulia
2022

Abstract

Corporate elites have been male bastions until very recently and businesswomen have been very few and difficult to track. This paper addresses this topic by investigating the presence of women among the directors of the top 250 Italian joint-stock companies in eleven benchmark years spanning from 1913 to 2017. It shows a male preponderance throughout the period investigated. Women were nearly totally excluded from Italian boards until the end of the 20th century and their number showed a sizeable increase only after the turn of the century. Women also occupied marginal positions in the boards: very few of them held multiple directorships and the first female interlocker appeared only in 1972. In a country dominated by family capitalism, for a long time the very few women directors sat on the boards of family firms and were members of the families that owned these firms. The presence of women in Italian corporate boards was boosted in recent years by the introduction in 2011 of mandatory gender quotas for listed firms and for firms participated by the state. This law provided legitimacy to the appointment of women on boards also in other firms not affected by the new regulation. The massive increase in seats held by women led to a professionalisation of female directors in Italy, even though women are still largely excluded from top executive positions.
20-gen-2022
1
25
Women directors in Italy: 1913–2017 / Rinaldi, Alberto; Tagliazucchi, Giulia. - In: BUSINESS HISTORY. - ISSN 0007-6791. - (2022), pp. 1-25. [10.1080/00076791.2021.2015332]
Rinaldi, Alberto; Tagliazucchi, Giulia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1258799
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