Cracking the Diversity Code: Analyzing Board Gender Diversity in the AEC Sector. By: Hong, Eunpyo. 2024. Journal of Management in Engineering. Vol. 40 Issue 3, p1-14.

Despite the critical role of boards and their significant interest in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, there is a scarcity of studies on board diversity within the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This paper aims to investigate board gender diversity in the AEC industry and provide a comprehensive overview of its progression over time, comparing it with non-AEC industry. The findings reveal that, on average, the AEC industry exhibits lower board gender diversity compared with non-AECindustry, although the gap between the two industries has significantly narrowed over time. The professional characteristics of female directors suggest that board gender diversity in the AEC industry seems to not yet fully embrace an inclusive and equitable work environment. Notably, female directors in the AEC industry have a shorter tenure, hold a higher number of outside board positions, display a relatively worse board meeting attendance rate, and tend to concentrate on professional positions related to finance, in comparison with male directors in the same industry or female directors in non-AEC industry. This paper contributes to the literature by shedding light on the specific dynamics and challenges related to board gender diversity in the AEC industry using comprehensive and up-to-date data. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a hot topic everywhere, and the AEC industry is no exception. Due to its reputation as a male-dominated field, DEI issues within the AEC industry have garnered more attention than other industries. Yet, anotable gap in understanding persists. Board diversity, particularly in the AEC context, remains relatively unexplored compared with worker and top management diversity. This study provides a fresh perspective on board gender diversity, an aspect of board diversity, utilizing comprehensive and current US. AEC industry data. The findings hint at a narrower quantitative gender diversity discrepancy between the AEC and non-AEC industries. Nevertheless, qualitatively, it appears that female directors within the AEC sector may notexperience a fully inclusive and equitable work environment. This implies that although AEC firms outwardly significantly improved board gender diversity, they might not fully embrace equity and inclusion on their boards. These findings align with the idea that recent improvements in board gender diversity could be influenced by external factors, such as evolving societal perceptions and legislative actions. However, the AEC firms might struggle to tackle deep-rooted challenges, thereby limiting the realization of thecomplete benefits of authentic board diversity.