Regulators in the United Kingdom recommend that 33 percent of board members of large U.K. firms be female by 2020. We use this setting to investigate whether greater female representation and any associated financial benefits can be achieved without establishing quotas. Using data between 2012 and 2018 for the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 350 firms, we find a significant increase in female representation on boards in recent years, and the rate of increase in gender diversity is higher in these years. Our results also indicate that board gender diversity is positively associated with both financial performance and firm value. However, this association exists only in recent years. Finally, capital market participants value nonexecutive female board members more than executive female board members.
Data Availability: Data are available from the public sources cited in the text.
JEL Classifications: G30; G38; M41.