Law By Santa Barbara Legislator Requiring Females On Public Corporate Boards In State Now In Effect
A California law authored by a Santa Barbara legislator intended to get more women into corporate boardrooms has grabbed the attention of companies across the country. As of January 1st, California is the first state to require boards for public companies headquartered in the state have at least one female board member. The legislation calls for the number of women to be ramped up over the next two years.
It was authored by Democratic State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. In 2013, she authored a resolution calling for corporations to stake steps to add female board members. Jackson says when she reviewed it 2018, and saw companies had done very little to improve the situation, she authored legislation to give them a push. The requirements went into effect January 1st, setting up fines for those who failed to comply.
New York Times reporter Alisha Haridasani Gupta did a story about the new law, which is the first of its kind in the nation. She says it’s sparked widespread interest.
Jackson says most California-based corporations appear to be getting on board with the new law, with only around 30 of 500 impacted companies failing to meet the deadline. There have been two lawsuits filed against the law, but Jackson believes corporations are going to comply because she says not only is it the right thing to do, it’s simply good business. She believes that no corporation will want to appear that it’s discriminating against women.
Gupta says some other states are looking at a similar law, but she’s finding that some corporations are being proactive and adding female board members before it become mandatory.
Researchers following the impacts of the new law say it may create a shift in the makeup of corporate boards, which could improve a business. Some companies are reaching inside of their networks to find strong female candidates. The result may be a board member with a stronger working knowledge of the business. Many board members are now outsiders whose primary qualification is being a former corporate CEO, or other high level executive.