This paper analyses the effects of a law (Law 120/2011) requiring all listed companies to guarantee at least one third of the seats on their boards to the least represented gender. We focus on the banking industry, and in particular we estimate the direct impacts on board composition and the economic performance of listed banks and the indirect ones on non-listed banks belonging to listed groups.
The new law led to an increase in the share of women on the boards of listed banks along with a slight increase in other measures of diversity (age, origin, experience), albeit limited to their boards of directors. The economic performance of listed banks was not affected by the new legal constraint. We find no indirect effects on the boards of non-listed banks belonging to listed groups, highlighting a certain resistance to changes in culture relating to corporate governance matters.