Purpose – This paper aims to examine empirically the impact of gender diversity on corporate performance by both comparing different positions occupied by female directors on the boards and their personal-specific characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines a sample of Italian listed companies during 2006–2015. To deal with endogeneity issues, the authors use a generalized method of moments as an empirical methodology. Findings – The empirical findings show that the positive effect of both independent and executive women directors on firm performance is moderated by the specific characteristics of female directors. Specifically, the analyses show that foreign and busy females negatively impact on performance. Conversely, graduate female directors strengthen the positive link between executive women and firm performance. Originality/value – The paper sheds light on the consequences of appointing different types of female directors (i.e. independent, executive, graduate, foreign and busy) on firm performance. Our empirical research that investigates the association between gender diversity and performance in the Italian context based on a longitudinal study, which involves a period of ten years, allowing consideration both of the years before and after the introduction of the gender quota law (Golfo–Mosca law).
- Gender diversity, Firm performance, Board roles, Female directors