Why CEOs with Daughters Are Better



ceos daughtersI don’t know what is in the water, but there has been a streak of baby boys born among my friends.  It’s pretty exciting as that means more potential friends for my son to grow up around.  Although, I know a couple of those moms really wanted girls instead.  


I know the PC response is to say that you want a happy and healthy child.  Everyone wants that, but who says that you can’t hope for more than those two things?  I’ll admit that when my wife first told me that she was pregnant, I thought for sure that we were having a girl.  But, I really wanted a boy.


I was so convinced (my wife was not) that I only wanted to discuss girl names, and eventually we settled on one.  Soon after, we learned she was carrying a boy.  I was shocked to say the least.


But it got me thinking– does having a boy or girl really make a difference?  The answer from my research was an overwhelming yes.  



ceos daughtersRecently, I came across a really interesting study that found that male CEOs, who had a firstborn daughter, led companies where women experienced a salary rise by 1.1%.  Men, on the other hand, had their salary raised by 0.6%.  On the flip side, when a male CEO had a firstborn son, women’s salaries only rose by 0.8%, while the men’s salaries rose at the same rate of CEOs with a firstborn daughter– 0.6%.  Interesting, huh?



These stats seem to indicate that children play a role in affecting parents’ attitudes and behaviors in relation to gender.  But that’s not the only thing that researchers have found.  They found that male CEOs with only sons and no daughters have a tendency to be more socially and politically conservative, while those with daughters tended to be more liberal.  Some people think that having daughters also make male CEOs more nurturing and more protective.  


roth 401k daughters ceosResearch further shows that judges with daughters tend to vote more liberally, and congressmen with daughters are more likely to support liberal issues, particularly those concerning women’s rights.


I found all of this information really interesting and wondered how it applied to US President.  Looking back at the past Presidents, the last one not to have a daughter was Dwight D. Eisenhower.  So the research is a little less clear when applied to the President in terms of leaning liberal or conservative in relation to their children’s genders.  


Corporate Social Responsibility

daughters ceosI recently learned about CSR, which stands for Corporate Social Responsibility.  If you’re like me and unfamiliar with the term, Business Dictionary defines CSR as:

“A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship

(1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes,

(2) by contributing educational and social programs, and

(3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.”


So I know what you’re thinking, what does this have to do with CEOs having daughters?  I’m getting there 🙂


Researchers at the University of Miami and China Europe International Business School analyzed the CSR of S&P 500 companies, with an emphasis on the children of CEOs.  They found that when a company’s CEO had a daughter, the company scored around 12% higher on CSR ratings and spent about 13.5% more money on CSR.


Why CSR Is So Valuable

Wow, these are huge outlays for multi-billion dollar companies.  But guess what?  Participants said that they were willing to pay a 10% premium for these products.  People want to align themselves with brands that are doing good.  It’s why Warby Parker and TOMS have such cult-like followings.


daughters ceosSo you would think the more daughters, the higher the CSR rating, right?  Not so much.  Just having a daughter was what made the most difference.  The amount of daughters mattered much less.  Most CEOs sampled were around age 57, so many of those men most likely have older, adult children.  Those with daughters probably have seen some struggles in the workforce and that could impact their attitudes about equality between the genders.


For those of you with bosses who are expecting, here’s to hoping that they have a girl 🙂


So readers, what do you think?  Have you noticed any of these patterns in the workplace?  Do you have any firsthand experience with this?  Share your thoughts below.

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  1. Hmm very interesting. I have a boss with three kids… All boys… And the research you did makes sense…

    I am a guy and have three siblings… All boys and your research does give perspective. And so far I have a son with another on the way. Privately I was hoping for another boy since that’s all I know, but now you’ve given me more reason to want a girl.

    Good stuff, Rob!
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    • Thanks for stopping by!!! I first heard about the study when I was in B-School. It shocked me then but it obviously makes sense in hindsight. I’m like you in that I definitely understand boys much more than girls, even my wife would agree 🙂

      So we’ll see what the good Lord gives us in the future 🙂

  2. As a woman supporting a family of five (my husband being a stay at home dad) on my income alone, I find this kind of thing highly annoying. Frankly, women who are working, if they’re doing the same job to the same level as their male co-workers, should be compensated accordingly. I’ve definitely seen a pattern of men being in the higher levels of IT inside my organization. The higher you go in the org chart, the more men and less women you see. That means men have the higher paying jobs, and I’m pretty sure there are men doing the same job I am (less effectively) who make more than I do. I don’t let that get me down though – instead I focus on increasing my own salary and rising in the organization. I just wish that these kinds of things weren’t true anymore.
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    • A friend and I were having a convo around this. She definitely lamented your same sentiments but we did think that it was better than when we first arrived. So hopefully things will continue to get better.

  3. The research lines up with my own personal experiences but I’ve never made the connection before. I have a feeling my next interview will go something like this…

    *Begin Interview*
    Interviewer: “So, do you have any questions for me/us?”

    Me: “Yes, I do actually. Does the CEO have any children?”

    *Security escorts me out of the building*

    Yup… I can see it now. #sigh
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  4. We have two boys. Things are manic often with boys. I’m sure little girls can be rambunctious but I gather it’s different. Perhaps it’s because since they approach things differently the parent learns to do so as well. Or perhaps it’s just correlation and not causation.

    • My only experience with a little girl regularly is my niece. She’s a year older than my son and way less rambunctious. My wife at times is perplexed at how my son acts since she grew up in a family of three girls. I on the other hand secretly love my son getting into everything. I love that he’s a happy healthy boy who explores 🙂

  5. Very interesting, and kinda sad that having daughters makes such a big difference in the level of empathy the CEOs seem to have as displayed by corporate behavior.

    I wonder if it makes as big a difference to female CEOs as it does to male CEOs? (although the sample size is so very much smaller, it may be hard to determine.)
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  6. It is interesting statics and research. I suppose daughters have a more important influence on fathers than son do. On the other hand, our society underestimates the role that females play.

    • I do wonder if daughters provide fathers a perspective that they were previously blind to. I also wonder how many fathers see some of the doors closed to their daughters and are determined to open them up.

  7. I have 4 younger sisters and it certainly has had an effect on my life. I’m much more compassionate and understanding when it comes to dealing with other women (either peers, co-workers, or friends).

    It’s similar to the concept of you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you spend time with testosterone crazy teens, you might act like them!!!
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    • Hahha…when you talked about testosterone crazy teens I thought about the Gronkowski household, the New England Patriots tight end. Rob Gronkowski had four brothers and he talked about how crazy it was in his house with brothers. I think it explains a lot about his life.

  8. Interesting. As a father of a daughter, and two sons, she certainly makes me look at thing differently.

    Now on the flip side I have worked for two different female VP in my career, both with no children and they treated employees with children very differently. One very compassionate and the other, well……
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  9. I think this is so interesting! I love that you were able to find research and statistics to back up these claims.

    I’m a nurse practitioner (female dominated profession) at a non-profit hospital, But my husband who works for a large telecommunications company has found even a huge difference working for a boss that has kids vs a boss with a spouse vs an unattached boss. Which I think is crazy!! We are super happy with his current boss who is married with 5 kids, who understands family/work balance.

    • Wow 5 kiddos!!! You don’t hear that too often. Although a guy from my high school and his high school sweet heart just had their 9th kid. I wonder at times how they all travel together 🙂

  10. Hey Rob,

    Very interesting article. This is something I never considered. For me, personally, I don’t have much experience with this. But, you gave me something to look for in the future.

    Regarding Trump, I think I heard before that women actually have some prominent positions and are paid well in his companies. I don’t have a link or anything, but it was something I recall hearing once or twice. Based on the study you cite, could that have something to do with Ivanka? Maybe?

    I find this very fascinating and also how you included CSR. Just a well thought out article. Have a great weekend.



    • Glad to hear that you enjoyed the article!!!

      It would definitely be interesting to see how much Ivanka influenced his thought process with women within his company. It does seem like she is the “brand” that he’s pushing.

  11. I love new stats, and this is one I was not aware of, although intuitively it makes sense. I actually wanted a girl, and was lucky enough to get one right out of the gate. I can totally see how having a girl would help smooth the rough edges of an executive. I can’t say I’ve seen that behavior at my company, but I think we have an especially conservative work environment. I do know about CSRs, that movement started a while back, I’m hoping it gains more traction and balances out the current growth/margin at all costs philosophy of most companies.
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    • Thanks for stopping by Max Your Freedom!!! I think it’s interesting how millennials are super conscious of their spending and trying to invest/shop at companies that align with their values.

      I have a ton of friends that are waiting in line to buy a Tesla 3 b/c they want to encourage the technology and were happy to put down a $1k deposit.

      Definitely a huge switch from before.

  12. Super interesting and something I’ve never really thought of. I haven’t really noticed this trend. Our CEO has a first born daughter and he definitely does not fit this mold. Our President has just a son so hard to tell there. Now that I’ve read this, I’m sure I’ll be analyzing everyone in this new light 🙂
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    • Hahahha…you’ll have to share what you find out. I am also noticing managers that have younger children vs. older children sometimes treat employees differently as well.

  13. I have heard stories from a coworker that our boss was not very understanding to some of the needs of employees until he himself had children. Previously he would be somewhat cold when a day would have to be missed due to a sick child or lack of daycare. Until he walked a mile in those shoes haha. I can relate myself. When I was younger I would always be irritated by coworkers being gone due to those circumstances. Now I have to laugh when I go through the same things. Life goes full circle sometimes.
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    • I’m right there with you Mr. Defined Sight!!! I don’t think I fully understood things until I walked in those shoes. Perspective is huge and I definitely think having a child has helped me grow as a manager.

  14. Interesting about the CSR. I used to be a Sustainability Program Manager, so I’m very familiar with CSR. I’m actually considering adding it to my youth workshops. I love TOMS. I have a pair and I’ve read his book “Start Something that Matters”. Very inspiring. Another inspiring company is Patagonia.
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  15. Hahaha, Mr. Picky Pincher and I are traditionally divided on what sex kiddos we’d love. I’d like a girl and he’d like a boy. We’ll see what happens. 🙂

    This is interesting! I’ve also heard that daughters of female CEOs tend to be more successful (girl power!). I do think that having only girls softened up my dad, so maybe there’s some truth to this. In many ways women are treated as ‘others’, and parenting girls can finally show some men what it’s like to be a woman in the world.
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    • My FIL had 3 girls and he definitely loved it!!! I’d be curious to interview his long time employees to see if there are any differences in his management style over the years 🙂

  16. I don’t have any first hand experience. I see the payroll at my work and I can say we have females here that are paid very well.

    I have one daughter and one boy, and I don’t want either to feel entitled to anything due to their gender.

  17. These stats are quite surprising to me as I’ve never really thought about the income difference for the average worker if a CEO’s first born is a girl or not. I do notice that there are more and more focus in income equality here in Canada where large organizations are putting more emphasis on having more women on the organization’s boards and executive positions. Still, If they average person’s salary increases more if the incoming CEO’s first born is a girl, then I’ll cross my fingers and hope for a bigger raise.
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  18. We have three sons. Our original plan was to have two children, but we couldn’t resist the urge to try for a girl with #3. Instead we got another boy who is sharp as a whip and makes all of us laugh everyday. My wife likes to tell a story about how she visited a palm reader at the state fair when she was thirteen. The palm reader told her she would have many men in her life… well she was right about that one..

    I am sure there is some truth the research you cited in your post. It is cliche, but all of us parents know that having children changes your perception of the world.
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  19. Interesting…I noticed the streak of boys last year…we had a boy (our 2nd boy) and see that the tide has changed this year. The people I know expected are all expecting girls. I always thought it would be nice to have one of each gender to have some balance. The research is interesting but it probably is important as to the person’s personality/character to begin with. The current “CEO” of our country has daughters and has talked about grabbing women by their women parts…so there’s that…

    • I noticed the same trend last year. Everyone I know had boys except for one girl. We only know one person pregnant right now and they aren’t sharing 🙂 So we’ll have to see.

  20. I’m not surprised at all about your findings here. What I find most interesting is that the entire time I read this article, I kept visualizing the CEO to be a male (father), but obviously that isn’t the case. That got me thinking, I wonder how the data would look if these studies focused only on female CEOs with a daughter? Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks for stopping by Joshua!!! I need to dig a little further to see if there is any data around this subject. I honestly have no idea and it would definitely be interesting to say the least.

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