Friday, March 15, 2019

Quotas and Gender Parity on Boards

Quotas PROVE that few women can make big it on their own in business.  Other disadvantaged groups -- Chinese, Japanese, Indians, surge ahead without need for outside help -- and most do not even speak good English.  And their cultural handicap is much greater

By Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi

IN THE UNITED STATES, WOMEN ARE STILL heavily under-represented in corporate leadership positions. Over the past 14 years, the percentage of female directors at the largest U.S. companies has increased by a meager 0.5% per year, and amounted to 26.3% in 2018, according to the most recent report of Corporate Women Directors International. If this growth rate remains unchanged, it will take nearly half a century to achieve gender parity at U.S. corporate boards.

In other countries with similar gender disparities in corporate leadership, legislators have responded by adopting mandatory board quotas. The first country to act was Norway, which introduced a quota of 40% female representation 2003. Belgium, in France, Germany, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, and Spain have now all established similar quotas.

When California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 826 into law on Sept. 30, 2018, California became the first U.S. state to adopt a mandatory gender quota. This law requires that all national and foreign companies headquartered in California have at least one female director on their board by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, two female directors must be appointed to boards with five members; three female directors will be required to sit on boards of six or more members. The statute is non-criminal, but penalties include a payment of $100,000 for the first violation, and $300,000 for each subsequent violation.

Are gender quotas an efficient way to help women break the glass ceiling? In research I conducted with my colleagues Felix von Meyerinck, Markus Schmid, and Steven Davidoff Solomon, we found that already by the end of December 2018, California firms had increased the fraction of women directors by 0.5 percentage points more than firms located in other states.

Compared to the annual average growth rate of women directors of 0.5%, the quota thus speeds up the process significantly.

However, there also is a downside of using gender quotas as a policy tool to promote gender equality: At least in the short term, the gender quota reduces the value of affected firms.

Specifically, firms headquartered in California underperformed relative to a group of control firms matched on size and industry by 0.45% on the first day after the quota announcement. This number may seem small, but given the median market capitalization of publicly listed firms in California in our sample, it reflects roughly $3.7 million in shareholder value destroyed per firm. These findings confirm an earlier study which documents a sharp drop in shareholder value after a mandatory gender quota was announced in Norway. That study found firms lost an average of 3.5% in the days surrounding the announcement (the penalty of non-compliance in Norway was also much steeper — the firm would be liquidated). Another example comes from Germany, where researchers found firms experienced an average loss of 0.44% over a three-day period and 1.91% over a 10-day period.

The negative valuation effect is particularly pronounced for firms with fewer female directors at the time of the law’s passage—in other words, firms that will be required by the new law to appoint relatively more women. But we even find negative spillover effects on firms not directly affected by the quota if they are located in states that are likely to follow California’s lead and adopt female board quotas. These are states that lean towards the Democratic Party and have previously followed California’s legislative example.

Why do stock prices drop in anticipation of more female directors being appointed? This finding may seem surprising given that various other studies find gender diversity has a positive impact on firm performance.

Investors may worry that the pool of qualified female candidates is not large enough to satisfy the increased demand for female directors under a gender quota system. And indeed, we find that female directors who were appointed to California companies after the gender quota was introduced are on average six years younger, have four years less industry experience, and are more likely to be in lower-ranking management positions (for example, vice presidents) than incumbent male directors.

A mandatory gender quota may thus produce backlash against other women if female directors hired under quota programs are (perceived as) less qualified. In line with this hypothesis, our results also show that firms with better access to female director networks see less severe stock price drops. These firms may find it much easier to access the pool of qualified female candidates, which facilitates the appointment of additional female directors and thus compliance with the quota.

In that sense, gender quotas may be most beneficial to those women who are newly promoted to board seats, but not to women more broadly.

To reduce the cost of mandatory female board representation, companies need to increase the pool of qualified female candidates. Based on my other research in this area, one way to do this would be to address the “motherhood penalty”—still a major derailer of women’s careers—by introducing familyfriendly policies that benefit both men and women. If women are allowed to advance in their careers throughout their child-bearing years, we should see an increase in the number of female senior executives, which in turn means a larger number of women that firms can appoint to their boards—either voluntarily, or if a quota mandates them to do so.


Hungary's PM: 'Hungary Has Christian Roots ... There Is No Place For Multiculturalism'

In an interview for a book published last week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stressed that Hungary has been a part of Europe for 1,000 years and that its critics in the European Union are upset because Hungary's constitution states that the country has "Christian roots," that it rejects "multiculturalism," that every child has "a right to a mother and a father," and that the country has a right to "defend its borders," especially against the threat of Islam.

The book, I Pulled the Thread of Lies and Everything Unravelled, is by Phillippe de Villiers, an essayist and a former Secretary of State for Culture in France. In a chapter about Budapest, Villiers discusses a conversation he had with Prime Minister Orban.

Concerning criticism from EU headquarters in Brussels, Orban said, “I am not concerned about the Brussels trials .... My grandmother taught me to be humble in adversity. I must put up with all of this. I can do nothing but place myself in God’s hands.”

“What outrages our opponents the most," he said,  "is the fact that in our Constitution we have written that Hungary has Christian roots; that here there is no place for multiculturalism; that a child has the right to a mother and a father; and that our nation has the right to defend its borders – which are also the borders of the European Union.”

The prime minister expressed concern about the divisive nature of Islamization in certain EU countries. “If they leave us alone and do not force Islamisation upon us, Europe can live on as a club of free nations," he said.  "If, however, they force us to accept the U.N.’s migration compact or the decisions of the European Commission, thereby aligning us with their permissive Western policy, disintegration cannot be ruled out.”

"For us the accusation that we are not fully European is a cruel joke," said Orban. "When after half a century of Soviet occupation and communist oppression we finally regained our freedom, when the West opened its arms to embrace us, we thought we had returned to our own kind. After all, Hungary has belonged to Europe for a thousand years. We are Europe."

"We have always remained European – even when we were sold down the river at Yalta, or let down in 1956," he continued.  "After the withdrawal of the Soviets, we believed we could regain our place in Europe, in this family of free nations resting on the pillars of Christian culture, national identity and human dignity."

"Not even in our worst nightmares did we think that, 29 years after our enchained nations gained freedom and the continent reunited, Europe would again be vulnerable to imperial ambitions – those which this time do not originate outside its borders, but within them," he said.

Orban added that "Europe is not a melting pot, but the home of nations," stated the website of the Hungarian government.


Captain Marvel: The New Politically Correct Superhero Fighting for “Intersectional Feminism”

Throughout the years masked crime fighters have faced some pretty scary enemies, though Marvel and the stars of the studio’s latest blockbuster (maybe — time will tell) Captain Marvel, may have outdone themselves in presenting an even more terrifying uber-baddie. In 2019, enter civilization’s greatest foe … sexism. According to an Entertainment Weekly article, “Intergalactic odd couple Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson return to 1995 to fight aliens,” and “Sexism.”

A joke? You wish. Marvel has officially stepped into the realm of PC politics, marketing its new Marvel entry as an opportunity to get in on 2019’s spirit of “intersectional feminism.” Of course, the film is Marvel’s first ever solo-female superhero so it’s a great opportunity for the studio and its media friends to jabber on about how much of a watershed moment it is.

EW’s interview with the actress behind Captain Marvel demonstrated how quickly the movie studio wants to flow down into the PC sewer.

Interviewer Devin Goggan got into the female-centric gaze of the movie, tiptoeing lightly with a soft question about the movie’s themes of female friendship. He asked, “This film is Carol Danvers’ [Captain Marvel] story, but it’s also a story about female friendship… What was it about that theme you wanted to explore?”

Larson moved into full “woke” mode with her answer. The actress started off with the classic, it’s 2019, man. The future is female. She stated, “What 2019 is about really, is intersectional feminism. There’s just no question that we would have to show what it means to be all different kinds of women, that we don’t have just one type.” Yeah these narcissistic Hollywood types really believe we were born yesterday, and that we’ve never seen tough women heroes before. I vaguely remember Ellen Ripley from Aliens, but I must be mistaken.

Anyways, Larson hammered on the PC themes, claiming that the intersectional “opportunity” inspired them to make the movie’s love story about two female friends. She continued, “It became a great opportunity, even with things like the love story. We wanted to make that big love… to be with [Carol’s] best friend.” Brie added, “To me that’s a part of what the meditation of this movie is: It’s female strength, but what is female strength? What are the different ways that can look?”

You know, that’s fine and all if you’re trying to be earnest with your story. But if your comic book plot hinges on marketing to the chaotic whims of the PC crowd, you’re bound to alienate genuine movie lovers, who, unlike their purple-haired counterparts, aren’t obsessed with deconstructing every facet of traditional storytelling.

Larson even became more extreme with her agenda, arguing that she’s only satisfied with the new film because it pushes past the “strong-woman” trope. Because apparently that’s tired now. She stated, “But that’s a huge part of why I felt comfortable doing this, because originally I was like, “I’m not interested in portraying perfect strong women that never make the wrong choice, because I consider myself a risk taker.”

Well we can’t argue with that considering there’s already a strong pre-release boycott of this film due to Larson’s PC pulpit. She has certainly gambled with Captain Marvel’s box office returns.


Man-Hating and the Grievance Studies Hoax

Bettina Arndt

My video this week is an interview with Helen Pluckrose, one of the scholars who pulled off the extraordinary Grievance Studies hoax. Helen, with two other scholars, James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, wrote 20 fake papers and managed to get them published in high-profile peer-reviewed journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies.

What really interested me in this great coup was not just that it exposed the corruption at the heart of so much of what passes for academic literature today, but it revealed the appalling anti-male bias in the academe and the really dangerous ideas about men being promoted in universities which have found their way into mainstream culture.

The classic was their paper about dog-humping as evidence of a rape culture which was published in the prestigious journal, Gender, Place and Culture. This paper, which was honoured for excellence as one of 12 exemplary pieces in feminist geography, included discussion of whether we could train men the way we train dogs, to prevent rape culture. How frightening that this misandrist rubbish is held up as exemplary scholarship.

In another of Helen’s fake articles, “Rubbing One Out: Defining Metasexual Violence of Objectification Through Non-consensual Masturbation,” she argues that men who masturbate while thinking about a woman without her consent are perpetrators of sexual violence. Just think about the implications of that. In her literature search she had no difficulty finding a wealth of feminist literature to support this notion that an everyday act for many men is proof they are prone to sexual violence.

My interview with Helen reveals many pernicious ideas about men being promoted in our universities which then seep through into our society. I hope you enjoy the interview. Please like it and help me promote it. Unfortunately, the picture of Helen is very blurry due to internet problem at her London home but what she has to say is really important.

Email from Bettina.


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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