A large body of diversity literature examines outcomes associated with specific dimensions of board diversity, such as gender or racial diversity. This paper provides descriptive evidence on inputs to board diversity by analyzing the language contained in diversity disclosures of companies listed on the 2019 Dow Jones Industrial Average. Our analyses demonstrate that the concept of diversity is vast, has different meanings to different audiences, and continues to evolve. In addition, we investigate whether the language used in the disclosures reflects actual diversity for the boards in our sample. Based on our analyses, we discuss potential normative implications, regulatory insights, and limitations related to the disclosures, and highlight avenues for future research. This study will be of interest to researchers and practitioners evaluating how diversity impacts board performance, as well as practitioners and regulators defining, implementing, and/or assessing diversity policies in the hiring process.

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