‘One is definitely not enough…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) California passed a bill a few weeks ago that would require public companies headquartered in the state to give at least one woman a seat on their board by the end of next year.
The bill, awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, would force major tech companies like Facebook, Apple and Tesla to add more women onto their boards by 2021 unless they want to face a penalty.
Many Democrats are praising the bill, citing a lack of gender diversity in tech industries.
“The glass ceiling in the C-suite is notorious, and this bill calls upon companies to open up their board rooms,” state Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson told Recode.
She said the California legislature has been urging tech companies to hire more female executives, but most companies “have really not moved the needle at all.”
If tech companies refuse to comply with the law’s required proportions, they will be fined an initial $100,000 fee and $300,000 for continued violations. Jackson admitted that it won’t financially hurt big companies like Apple, but it will make a statement.
“By bringing more public consciousness to this, we hope we can put a little more pressure on these companies to comply,” she said.
Opponents of the bill have said pressure to meet quotas could lead to unqualified female members and discrimination against male candidates.
Vicki Kramer, author of a 2006 study “Critical Mass on Corporate Boards,” told CNN that while these concerns have merit, she’s hopeful this bill will “change the numbers.”
“People don’t change what they’ve always been doing easily,” Kramer said. “The way people get on boards is so much of who you know and who you’re comfortable with, and who people know is still the same people they play golf with and do business deals with. I don’t think without real pressure and real consequences we’re going to see changes.”
Kramer said she wished the California law required more than just one woman on executive boards.
“One is definitely not enough,” she said. “But at least with companies that have none, to at least just get one — and then let’s go from there. But one is not enough. One is a token.”