Are Liberal Bosses Better for Women?

Temple University researcher helped examine data at big law firms. This is what he found.

Brad Greenwood, Temple University

Brad Greenwood, Temple University

It’s easier for women to get opportunities and promotions at law firms led by liberals, according to a new paper co-written by a Temple University researcher.

Brad Greenwood, an assistant professor of management information systems at Temple’s Fox School of Business, joined Seth Carnahan, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, in determining that women are at a disadvantage in offices where bosses make more political contributions to Republican candidates.

“Findings suggest that liberal male law partners are more likely than moderate partners to serve on diversity committees and to select female associates for training and development opportunities, while conservative partners are less likely to do so,” the pair wrote. “We also find that associates have larger gender disparities in promotion and turnover when partners in their practice area are more conservative.”

The study was reported today by the Washington Post, which noted these findings: “already, women are half as likely as men to get promoted to partner. But under conservative male bosses, this gender gap in promotion rates widens by 80 percent. The researchers also show that the more money that male bosses donate to Republicans, the less likely women are to make partner in that office.”

The Post added there was no evidence that male conservative bosses “but it does suggest that women should be careful in places with conservative attitudes.”

“What’s really interesting is that these differences exist at such dramatically different stages in a woman’s career,” Greenwood told the paper. “You see this every step along the way.”

See the full paper here: