According to TechCrunch, California is taking steps to become the next state to require companies to have women on their boards.
As discussions around equal pay, sexual harassment and workplace culture swirl, two female senators are spearheading a bill “ to promote greater gender representation in corporate decision-making.” A quarter of the 445 publicly traded companies in California do not have a woman in their boardrooms, TechCrunch says.
If the bill passes, publicly held companies based in California will be required to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of 2019. Similarly, “by 2021, companies with boards of five directors must have at least two women, and companies with six-member boards must have at least three women.” Companies failing to comply will be fined.
What decision makers need to know:
While workplace culture is gradually becoming more inclusive, and women are starting to be treated more equally to men, there are still obstacles to overcome. TechCrunch says that there are still critics – including female professionals – of this current bill, which can inhibit any process moving towards equality. For example, “Jennifer Barrera, senior vice president of policy at the California Chamber of Commerce, argued against the bill and said it only focuses “on one aspect of diversity” by singling out gender,” saying, “This bill basically mandates that we hire the woman above anybody else who we may be fulfilling for purposes of diversity.”
TechCrunch also says that a legislative analysis of the bill warned that the it could be “challenged on equal protection grounds,” and tough to defend, “requiring the state to prove a compelling government interest in such a quota system for a private corporation.
As a result, whether or not the bill passes, decision makers should consider examining and reevaluating their company culture, and make it a more inclusive space for women. Other industries – corporations, tech, STEM fields and higher education included – are readjusting their work culture to support men and women equally. Businesses and institutions that don’t keep tabs on this bill, or that don’t consider making the workplace more equal, might lose customers, current and prospective employees, and more.