Is the media partly to blame for the CEO gender gap?

The press predominantly criticizes the choice to hire female CEOs, point fingers at them when there’s a crisis, and report on their personal life.

Associate Professor of Management Christine Shropshire examined shareholder proposals at Fortune 1000 companies between 2003 and 2013. She found that the rate of shareholder activism — a term given when shareholders try to take control of a company from the CEO — remained consistent across industries, company sizes, and levels of performance.

From Fast Company on October 26, 2016:

“A recent study by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University found that female CEOs are more likely to be targeted by shareholder activism, which the study’s authors believe is directly impacted by the way in which they’re covered in the media.

“Historically, female CEOs garner far more media attention than their male counterparts, and not for corporate performance and policy decisions alone,” wrote the Arizona State University study’s author, Christine Shropshire. “For example, as Silicon Valley’s most prominent woman in a male-dominated profession, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s appearance, pregnancy, and parenting are frequently discussed — yet these topics rarely surface for male CEOs.”