Learning from Their Daughters: Family Exposure to Gender Disparity and Female Representation in Male-Led Ventures

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2023.4727

We build on recent studies on daughter-to-father influence to explore how male founders’ fatherhood of daughters impacts female representation in their ventures. We find that, conditional on the total number of children, fathering an additional daughter versus a son is associated with a 4% (11%) increase in female director (employee) representation. This daughter-to-father effect gradually matures as daughters grow up and socialize in schools and workplaces, and it increases as daughters age, suggesting that male founders vicariously learn from their daughters about the constraints women face throughout the daughters’ life cycles. Heterogeneity analyses (regarding founder cohort, divorce status, and social class), combined with qualitative evidence, further substantiate the plausibility of vicarious learning as a potential yet understudied mechanism underlying daughter effects. In addition, daughter effects on employee recruitment are concentrated in microbusinesses (number of employees is ≤10) where the founder is close in decision authority to all employees. These findings add important nuances to our understanding of daughter effects in organizational contexts and extend theory of gender homophily in organizations.

This paper was accepted by Olav Sorenson, organizations.

Funding: K. Wennberg acknowledges funding from the Swedish Royal Academy of Letter.

Supplemental Material: The data files and online appendix are available at https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2023.4727.

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