California Passes Resolution to Ignite Gender Diversity Discussions

By Sarah Meyerrose, ION President

This week the California State Senate passed Senator Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 62 calling for publicly-held companies with boards of nine or more to fill at least three of those seats with women, for boards of five to eight with at least two women, and for smaller boards with at least one woman. With no mandated quotas, SCR 62 is designed to ignite discussions and urge companies to take action over the next three years.

Many people are surprised to learn that in a state as diverse and forward-thinking as California, women hold fewer than one in ten of the highest-paid executive positions and board seats at the top public firms – a figure that hasn’t changed much in eight years. The resolution’s author, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, said that as the seventh largest economy in the world, California can use this resolution as an opportunity to “clear gender bias in corporate America” and that the next step is to “take the discussion out of academia and into the public policy arena.”

When asked how to get corporations to move forward with more gender-diverse initiatives – both in the boardroom and elsewhere — Jackson said that we have to show them the bottom line. If a company sees increased profits and improved productivity, they might be convinced that this isn’t a boys’ club anymore. And shareholders must put pressure on the board.  

ION couldn’t agree more. If you do too, here are online resources to learn how individual investors, mutual fund investors and consumers  can make a difference by taking action.

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