How do women’s presence as owners and board members, although underrepresented, impact the financial performance of closed Swedish firms? With a special focus on Swedish family firms

Rubecca Duggal

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper investigates the effects of women in leading positions, as owners and board members of the firm a, with a special focus on family owned enterprises. The ownership data is derived from a survey conducted on a set of non-listed Swedish firms. The descriptive data shows that female representation is relatively low both in family and non-family firms, albeit higher in family firms. In this, situational obstacles and person centered perspectives are explored to explain why women are underrepresented. The empirical analysis shows that females have a relatively low ownership stake in Swedish firms, and a comparably low degree of representation in the board of directors. There are however clear differences between family and non-family firms with respect to female representation. The results further show how firm performance, measured by solvency, is significantly affected by the level of female representation. More precisely, when women’s ownership share in family firms increases, the solvency improves. On the contrary, the solvency decreases when women in nonfamily firms increase their holdings. Hence, the results support the under-performing hypothesis for women in nonfamily firms solely.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages85