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Economic Quarterly

Feb. 28, 2020

Richmond Fed’s Economic Quarterly examines female representation on Reserve Banks’ Boards of Directors

In the latest issue of Economic Quarterly, Richmond Fed economist Arantxa Jarque and former Richmond Fed research associate Caroline Davis analyze the gender composition of the boards of directors of the 12 regional Reserve Banks. Women began serving as directors in 1977, and their proportion has increased over time, reaching its peak of 31.5 percent in 2017.

Jarque and Davis find that female representation on Reserve Bank boards is mainly driven by selection practices. Women are more likely to be appointed to replace a departing female director than to replace a departing male director, the authors say. They also find that the probability of appointing a woman is affected by the gender composition of the current board. A woman is more likely to be appointed if there are no other women on the current board, and her likelihood of being appointed drops as the number of women on the current board increases. The authors conclude that adjusting selection practices is likely the best way to increase female representation.

This article and others in the latest issue of Economic Quarterly are available on our website.

Also in this issue:

The Economic Quarterly is a free publication containing economic analysis pertinent to Federal Reserve monetary and banking policy. More information is available at (800) 322-0565 or online.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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