CANCELLED -The organizational and cultural boundaries of gender homophily in Microfinance
Title: The organizational and cultural boundaries of gender homophily in Microfinance (co-authors Israel Drori, Ronny Manos and Amir Shoham)
Since inception, Microfinance organisations’ mission has been to promote female entrepreneurs' access to credit. While much is known about the role of institutional and organizational factors enabling or hampering the outreach to women, little is known regarding the nature of the role played by the gendering of the organizations’ leadership in achieving this mission. Are female leaders within Microfinance organizations instrumental in microfinance outreach to female entrepreneurs? And if so, why? At the theoretical level, we argue that female leaders (either as board members or as managers) engage in gender homophily. We formulate competing hypotheses regarding whether they do so because of structural factors (induced) or by choice. To do so, we take into account the role of deep cultural factors, embedded in the gendering of language, in which microfinance organizations operate. While induced homophily results from shared experiences of exclusion especially where gender inequality is deeply rooted in the culture, choice homophily may manifest itself more easily in cultural environments that are more conducive or tolerant towards women agency. Last but not least, we articulate channels through which choice homophily may manifest itself, such as the internal staffing choices at lower levels of the organization. We use a large dataset of microfinance organizations and an instrumental strategy approach to answer such questions. We find empirical causal evidence supporting the hypothesis that female leaders engage in choice homophily and that their effect on the organization’s outreach is materializing partly through their internal staffing choices.