Lifting Women Up: Gender Quotas and the Advancement of Women on Corporate Boards


The introduction of gender quotas on corporate boards may be a shock to the status-quo that produces externalities to the advancement of women in the company. In this paper, we investigate whether boardroom quotas contribute to lift more women further up the corporate ladder and to a wider range of positions. We use a legislative change in Germany as a natural experiment. Quotas increase female representation on the affected board but may have a negative impact on executive careers for women. They also fail short of eliminating the glass ceiling and do not level the playfield across women insiders and outsiders. Quotas can not be tasked with achieving gender equality in corporations on their own.