Female advantage? Management and financial performance in microfinance
The purpose of the article is to investigate whether female presence in microfinance institutions’ management team, i.e. board members, managers and loan officers, will improve their financial performance. We combine financial data on MFIs that is available from the MIX Market database with original data on the gender composition of MFIs’ management team, who include board members, managers and loan officers. This original dataset of 223 MFIs is analyzed using Logit-Tobit regression models with return on assets (ROA) as the dependent variable and proportion of female board members, female loan officers and female managers as the main independent variables. We find that a higher proportion of female managers and female loan officers improve financial performance in microfinance, while a higher proportion of female board members does not. Our results indicate that a major contributor to the financial sustainability of microfinance institutions is having a higher rate of women in vital decision-making roles, especially lower level management positions.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Agier I, Szafarz A (2013) Microfinance and gender: Is there a glass ceiling on loan size? World Development 42: 165–181. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1573872
Agnew J, Balduzzi P, Sundén A (2003) Portfolio choice and trading in a large 401(k) plan. American Economic Review 93 (1): 193–215. https://doi.org/10.1257/000282803321455223
Appold SJ, Siengthai S, Kasarda JD (1998) The employment of women managers and professionals in an emerging economy: Gender inequalities as an organizational practice. Administrative Science Quarterly 43 (3): 538–565. https://doi.org/10.2307/2393675
Armendáriz B, Morduch J (2007) The economics of microfinance (2nd ed.). The MIT Press: Cambridge. Massachusetts. USA.
Barber BM, Odean T (2001) Boys will be boys: gender, overconfidence, and common stock investment. Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 (1): 261–292. https://doi.org/10.1162/003355301556400
Barsky RB, Juster FT, Kimball MS, Shapiro MD (1997) Preference parameters and behavioral heterogeneity: an experimental approach in the health and retirement study. Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (2): 537–579 http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355397555280
Bart C, McQueen G (2013) Why women make better directors. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics 8 (1): 93–99. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJBGE.2013.052743
Bassem BS (2009) Governance and performance of microfinance institutions in Mediterranean countries. Journal of Business Economics and Management 10 (1): 31–43. https://doi.org/10.3846/1611-1699.2009.10.31-43
Beck T, Behr P, Guettler A (2013) Gender and banking: Are women better loan officers? Review of Finance 17 (4): 1279–1321. https://doi.org/10.1093/rof/rfs028
Becker GS (1973) A theory of marriage: Part I. Journal of Political Economy 81 (4): 813–846. https://doi.org/10.1086/260084
Bilimoria D (2000) Building the business case for women corporate directors. In: Burke RJ, Mattis MC (eds) Women on corporate boards of directors. Issues in Business Ethics 14. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3401-4_3
Bilimoria D, Huse M (1997) A qualitative comparison of the boardroom experiences of US and Norwegian women corporate directors. International Review of Women and Leadership 3 (2): 63–73.
Brammer S, Millington A, Pavelin S (2007) Gender and ethnic diversity among UK corporate boards. Corporate Governance: An International Review 15 (2): 393–403. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8683.2007.00569.x
Brieger SA, Francoeur C, Welzel C, Ben-Amar W (2017) Empowering women: the role of emancipative forces in board gender diversity. Journal of Business Ethics 155 (2): 495–511. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3489-3
Burns JM (1978) Leadership. Harper Torchbooks, New York, NY. Byrnes J, Miller P, David C, William D (1999) Gender differences in risk taking: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 125 (3): 367–383. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.125.3.367
Campbell K, Mínguez-Vera A (2008) Gender diversity in the boardroom and firm financial performance. Journal of Business Ethics 83 (3): 435–451. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9630-y
Carter DA, Simkins BJ, Simpson WG (2003) Corporate governance, board diversity, and firm value. The Financial Review 38 (1): 33–53. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6288.00034
Catalyst (2004) The bottom line: Connecting corporate performance and gender diversity. New York, NY: Catalyst.
Charness G, Gneezy U (2007) Strong evidence for gender differences in investment. Working Paper. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.648735
Cordeiro JJ, Stites-Doe S (1997) The impact of women managers on firm performance: Evidence from large U.S. firm. International Review of Women and Leadership 3 (1): 1–20.
Corson R, Gneezy U (2009) Gender differences in preferences. Journal of Economic Literature 47 (2): 448–474. https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.47.2.448
Daily CM, Certo ST, Dalton DR (1999) A decade of corporate women: Some progress in the boardroom, none in the executive suite. Strategic Management Journal 20 (1): 93–99. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0266(199901)20:1<93:: AID-SMJ18>3.0.CO;2-7
Dwyer S, Richard OC, Chadwick K (2003) Gender diversity in management and firm performance: The influence of growth orientation and organizational culture. Journal of Business Research 56 (12): 1009–1019. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(01)00329-0
Duflo E (2012) Women empowerment and economic development. Journal of Economic Literature 50 (4): 1051–1079. https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.50.4.1051
Eagly AH, Johannesen-Schmidt MC, van Engen ML (2003) Transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles. A meta-analysis comparing women and men. Psychological Bulletin 129 (4): 569–591. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.129.4.569
Eagly AH, Johnson B (1990) Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 108 (2): 233–256. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.108.2.233
Eckel CC, Grossman PJ (2008) Men women and risk aversion: experimental evidence. Handbook of Experimental Economics Results 1: 1061–1073. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1574-0722(07)00113-8
Erhardt NL, Werbel JD, Shrader CB (2003) Board of director diversity and firm financial performance. Corporate Governance 11 (2): 102–111. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8683.00011
Fama EF, Jensen MC (1983) Separation of ownership and control. Journal of Law and Economics 26 (2): 301–325. https://doi.org/10.1086/467037
Finkelstein S, Hambrick D (1996) Strategic leadership: top executives and their effects on organizations. St. Paul. MN: West.
García-Meca E, García-Sánchez IM, Martínez-Ferrero J (2015) Board diversity and its effects on bank performance: An international analysis. Journal of Banking and Finance 53: 202–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2014.12.002
Ghatak M (2000) Screening by the company you keep: Joint liability lending and the peer selection effect. The Economic Journal 110 (465): 601–631. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0297.00556
Ghosh C, Guha S (2019) Role of gender on the performance of Indian microfinance institutions. Gender in Management: An International Journal: 1754–2413. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-03-2019-0036
Harrigan KR (1981) Number and positions of women elected to corporate boards. Academy of Management Journal 24 (3): 619–625. https://doi.org/10.5465/255580
Hartarska V, Nadolnyak D, Mersland R (2014) Are women better bankers to the poor? Evidence from rural microfinance institutions. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 96 (5): 1291–1306. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aau061
Hartaska V (2005) Governance and performance of microfinance institutions in central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states. World Development 33 (10): 627–1643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2005.06.001
Huang J, Kisgen D (2013) Gender and corporate finance: Are male executives overconfident relative to female executives? Journal of Financial Economics 108 (3): 822–839. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.12.005
Jogulu UD, Wood UD (2006) The role of leadership theory in raising the profile of women in management. Equal Opportunities International 25 (4): 236–250. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610706230
Kittilaksanawong W, Zhao H (2018) Does lending to women lower sustainability of microfinance institutions? Moderating role of national cultures. Gender in Management: An International Journal 33 (3): 187–202. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-11-2015-0098
Krishnan HA, Park D (2005) A few good women-on top management teams. Journal of Business Research 58 (12): 1712–1720. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2004.09.003
Leite RdO, Mendes LDS, Sacramento LC (2018) To profit or not to profit? Assessing financial sustainability outcomes of microfinance institutions. International Journal of Finance Economics, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijfe.1718
Maes JP, Reed LR (2012) State of the microcredit summit campaign report 2012. Microcredit Summit Campaign.
Mandell B, Pherwari S (2003) Relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership style: A gender comparison. Journal of Business and Psychology 17 (3): 387–404. https://doi.org/10.12691/education-2-12-22
Mengoli S, Odorichi V, Gudjonsson S (2017) The scorpion who stings the dog who bites: The effect on women’s different job positions on gender discrimination in microfinance. Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7 (1): 137–165. https://doi.org/10.22381/JRGS7120175
Mersland R, Strom RO (2009) Performance and governance in microfinance institutions. Journal of Banking and Finance 33 (4): 662–669. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2008.11.009
Miller T, Triana MdC (2009) Demographic diversity in the boardroom: mediators of the board diversity – firm performance relationship. Journal of Management Studies 46 (5): 755–786. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00839.x
Moreno-Gómez J, Lafuente E, Vaillant Y (2018) Gender diversity in the board, women’s leadership and business performance. Gender in Management: An International Journal 33 (2): 104–122. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-05-2017-0058
Niederle M, Vesterlund L (2007) Do women shy away from competition? Do men compete too much? Quarterly Journal of Economics 122 (3): 1067-1101. https://doi.org/10.1162/qjec.122.3.1067
Opstrup N, Villadsen AR (2015) The right mix? Gender diversity in top management teams and financial performance. Public Administration Review 75 (2): 291–301. https://doi.org/10.1162/qjec.122.3.1067https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12310
Powell M, Ansic D (1997) Gender differences in risk behaviour in financial decision-making: An experimental analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology 18 (6): 605–628. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-4870(97)00026-3
Reed LR (2011) State of the microfinance summit campaign report 2011. Microfinance Summit Campaign.
Rosenstein S, Wyatt JG (1990) Outside directors, board independence, and shareholder wealth. Journal of Financial Economics 26 (2): 175–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-405X(90)90002-H
Serrano-Cinca C, Gutiérrez-Nieto B (2014) Microfinance, the long tail and mission drift. International Business Review 23 (1): 181-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2013.03.006
Shrader CB, Blackburn BV, Iles P (1997) Women in management and firm financial performance: An exploratory study. Journal of Managerial Issues 9 (3): 355–372.
Singh V, Vinnicombe S, Johnson P (2001) Women directors on top UK boards. Corporate Governance: An International Review 9 (3): 206–216. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8683.00248
Smith N, Smith V, Verner M (2006) Do women in top management affect firm performance? A panel study of 2,500 Danish firms. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management 55 (7): 569–593. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410400610702160
Strom RO, D’Espallier B, Merlsand R (2014) Female leadership, performance, and governance in microfinance institutions. Journal of Banking and Finance 42: 60–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2014.01.014
Sunden AE, Surette BJ (1998) Gender differences in the allocation of assets in retirement savings plans. American Economic Review 88 (2): 207–211 https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:88:y:1998:i:2:p:207-11
Tchakoute-Tchuigoua H, Soumaré I (2019) The effect of loan approval decentralization on microfinance institutions’ outreach and loan portfolio quality. Journal of Business Research 94: 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.09.021
Vishwakarma R (2017) Women on board and its impact on performance: evidence from microfinance sector. Indian Journal of Corporate Governance 10 (1): 58–73. https://doi.org/10.1177/0974686217701465