May 8th, 2012
07:48 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Women have been breaking through the glass ceiling toward senior positions in greater numbers, but U.S. research suggests there is now a “green ceiling” that female executives face to get investor cash.

Researchers at the University of Utah and Washington University found that when MBA students are presented an identical IPO offering, they are less likely to invest if the company is led by a female CEO than a man.

That comes despite the fact women holding corporate officer positions in the U.S. increased to 55% from 10% between 1997 and 2007, the study notes.

“Given the increasing numbers of women executives in the top management teams of IPO firms, the lack of female-led IPO firms is a curious fact, especially since women-owned private businesses represent almost half of the new businesses formed in the United States,” the authors said.

The students were given a fake prospectus of a cosmetic surgery company, based on a real company that had an IPO through Goldman Sachs. The only change was in the gender makeup of the faux company’s management. “For example, first names were changed from Matthew to Martha Evans, along with associated executive photos in the IPO pitch materials the students reviewed,” according the university.

Of the 222 MBA students who rated the fake IPO presentations, only 45 were women – and both men and women tended to favor their gender. Still, IPOs led on paper by men generated nearly four times the recommended percentage to invest from the students. “Moreover, the anticipated share price of IPOs led by male CEOs was approximately 11% higher than those of female led IPOs,” the study said.

This comes as the number of working women eclipsed men for the first time in many developed economies like the U.S. in 2009. More recently, a Pew Research Center report last month showed young women now top young men in valuing a high-paying career for the first time.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Punkka

    As typical, the devil is in the details (not disclosed in the news). For example the news does not tell if the fake prospectuses were originally prepared by men or women and hence if the test setup itself was biased or not.

    May 8, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  2. warsteiner

    Woman put the sign down and go to the kitchen and fix me something to eat then finish the laundry and have a few babies. Let men work so they can provide for their family stop taking jobs from them

    May 8, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  3. Sathyavrath

    Investors are also prejudiced against, non-IT,non Tech, non web, minorities or persons with strange accents. How many investors are willing to fund a start up in manufacturing in the US but will fund the same in China? How many of them have actual hands on experience in related role?

    May 8, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  4. Paul

    "Investors bias against female CEOs"?

    How about "investors are concerned whether this female CEO is a product of her own effort or just a result of affirmative action and preferential treatment"?

    May 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  5. Alex Povolotski

    Not investors are biased against females, the money just doesn't want to go where the decisions are made based on PMS-driven and illogical decisions. Money doesn't lie!

    May 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  6. quest

    hahahahaha.... well those are our business leaders, bankers, consultants, VCers, entrepreneurs... all those MBAs.... soooo women, there you go, that is how you are perceived as leaders in the business world. Too bad for you, lifes not fair... please stop being so annoying about this

    May 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  7. Dana Henry

    Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted color off. She means he should stop mourning. At this time, the Queen expresses her inability to give Hamlet moral support. After losing his father to death and his subsequent family to incest he was in deep melancholy. Therefore it was very inconsiderate of her to tell hi to stop grieving and make piece with himself so quickly. She did not mourn the loss of her own husband and marries the corrupt brother of him. This shows what a hypocrite and selfish person she truly is, an adulterate beast.

    My thoughts of Gertrude
    From my perspective, Gertrude is an ambiguous character, having many sides. With respect to her traits and her impact on the plot of Hamlet however, I would have to say that based on her personality, I dislike her. I have arrived at this conclusion mainly based on her poor judgment and the impact she has had on the plot of the play. It shows how incestuous and shallow she is. She only thinks of herself and external pleasures forsaking her son in his most indefinite time of need.

    Despite the fact that she is caring, I think she should’ve done more in comforting Hamlet hence desisting from a hasty marriage while betraying her late husband for his brother. She should’ve been more loyal to Hamlet her son than to Claudius and never have doubted him.

    Analysis on Gertrude
    In the tragic classic of Hamlet,Queen Getrude is mother of protagonist, Hamlet and wife of King Claudius.As I

    May 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  8. Dana Henry

    analyse Gertrude certain traits are drawn to my mind based on her behaviour.Like every human, she has some positive traits as well as some faults.Positively, she is a caring character who wants everyone tpp get on well with each other.She is strong because she acts as a shield and protection for Hamlet.An instance in which this quality is portrayed is when she drinks poison

    May 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  9. Dana Henry

    analyze Gertrude certain traits are drawn to my mind based on her behaviour.Like every human, she has some positive traits as well as some faults.Positively, she is a caring character who wants everyone tpp get on well with each other.She is strong because she acts as a shield and protection for Hamlet.An instance in which this quality is portrayed is when she drinks poison

    May 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. FenceSitter

    This doesn't prove anything, it could suggest that these people know something that matters when deciding to invest your money. What this article actually shows is the bias of the people who created the test as they are looking for bias but ignoring that that bias may have a practical reason. Therefore this test suggest the testers are more likely biased as they are looking and assuming the outcome.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  11. demaris

    "University of Utah" – over in one.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  12. andy

    It is true that women face discrimination in life. However, it is also a fact that men face discrimination too in various other aspects of life and increasing. It is probably time that the society pays some attention to discrimination faced by men.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  13. Jimbo Jenkins

    Call this a biased predisposition, but experience has taught me that women are never a sound investment. The margins are low and the risk is incredible.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  14. Arlette Keet

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    July 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  15. Aji

    Other tech companies exctpeed to release IPOs in 2012 are: Yelp , Tumblr , and Dropbox . Facebook has over 800 million users (for perspective, the USA has a bit over 300 million), making it one of the most visible companies in the world. How Much Is Facebook Worth? Social Giant to Release IPO in May |

    July 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  16. Nathan Arenson


    October 17, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  17. Elvera Canion

    Chinese dry-cured hams have been recorded in texts since before the Song dynasty and used in myriad dishes. Several types exist in Qing dynasty cuisine and are used in dishes of stewing hams.

    May 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm |

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