One of the institutions in which the gender gap remains a contestable issue is the board of directors, where the proportion of female directors is still low. While some countries have achieved higher proportions of female directors on their corporate boards, others have not registered even a single one. Drawing on social role theory, that places emphasis on traditional gender activities, this study starts by arguing that board directorship is an agentic role and more suitable for men. The study shows that key social institutions have the potential to alleviate such stereotypical attitudes or to maintain the status quo. Employing a robust statistical technique in two-stage least squares (2SLS), this study finds that the representation of women in other key national institutions, such as in politics, positively affects the appointment of female directors on boards. On the other hand, religiosity has a negative causal effect on female board appointments.
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