(Gender) Tone at the top: the effects of gender board diversity on gender wage inequality in Europe

We address the gender wage gap in Europe, focusing on the impact of female representation in executive and non-executive boards. We use a novel dataset to identify gender board diversity across European firms, which covers a comprehensive sample of private firms in addition to publicly listed ones. Our study spans three waves of the Structure of Earnings Survey, covering 26 countries and multiple industries. Despite low prevalence of female representation and the complex nature of gender wage inequality, our findings reveal a robust causal link: increased gender diversity significantly decreases the adjusted gender wage gap. We also demonstrate that to meaningfully impact gender wage gaps, the presence of a single female representative in leadership is insufficient.