This study conducts a firm-level analysis of the impact that the gender diversity of boards of directors has on corporate philanthropic responses to disasters. We predict a negative relationship between diversity and philanthropic contribution; as the relationship is stronger in listed firms with a better-developed institutional environment. Data were collected on the philanthropic responses of listed Chinese firms to the 5.12 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. These data support the hypothesized negative relationship and show that it is stronger in higher level vs. lower level marketization environments; the relationship is weaker in listed firms with average gender diversity that have political connections. We also find evidence that agency cost theory explains corporate philanthropic disaster response much better than strategic philanthropic theory since women on boards of directors do not facilitate corporate donation process but rather evaluate the benefits of corporate responses to disasters. These benefits depend on the level of marketization and separation from the government, especially for listed firms with average gender diversity in China. These constructive results provide the first examination of the moderating role of institutional environment on the relationship between gender diversity and corporate philanthropic behaviors. We discuss the implications of this work for further research on diversity considering the interaction with the corporate context.