Are Women Driving Corporate Social Responsibility?

Yes, suggest a recent poll and research study.

Woman hand collecting garbage in the mountain
Last month, Corporate Responsibility Magazine released the results of a poll of more than 1,000 employed and unemployed Americans, shedding light on how corporate responsibility, reputation, and transparency can affect job decisions. One of the more surprising results: 86 percent of American females said they would not join a company with a poor CSR reputation, compared to only 67 percent of American males.

A surprising result: 86 percent of females said they would not join a company with a poor CSR reputation, compared to 67 percent of males.

At the same time  the results of this poll were released, I read about a study, also related to women and CSR, in a story published in Harvard Business Review’s November issue. This research revealed that CEOs of S&P 500 companies who have daughters are more apt be more socially responsible in the way they lead their companies than are those CEOs without daughters.

In the HBR article, Henrik Cronqvist of the University of Miami, who conducted the study with Frank Yu of China Europe International Business School, wrote that companies run by executives who have daughters rated higher on measures of diversity, employee relations, and environmental stewardship.

Why might this be the case — and why would a company’s CSR reputation be more important to nearly 20 percent more women than men? According to Cronqvist, “the literature in economics, psychology, and sociology suggests that women tend to care more about the well-being of other people and of society than men do.” And in his study, having daughters appeared to increase those sympathies for male CEOs.

What’s the implication for the meeting-planning profession — which is dominated by women? They just might be moving the needle on corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, not only at events but back at the office.


Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.