Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to check the impact of female directors on the board and foreign institutional investors on earnings manipulation. Design/methodology/approach:The data sample includes Chinese listed companies on the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges. The data are collected from China Stock Market and Accounting Research database covering the period from 2010 to 2017. The authors use a dynamic generalized method of moments in the study. Findings:The findings show that the presence of female director on the board has a significant negative impact on both discretionary accruals and real earning management. However, the authors obtain different results for foreign institutional investor investors. This may be the result of myopia as the foreign institutional stockholders in Chinese companies are looking for quick profit encouraging management to manipulate earnings. the findings survive several robustness tests. Originality/value:The authors expect the research results provide ample evidence about how female directors affects earnings manipulation, and also hope the research helps to understand how, in China, institutional ownership affects earnings manipulation.