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California becomes the first state to require women on corporate boards

California becomes the first state to require women on corporate boards
[Photo: Dane Deaner/Unsplash]

The law was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday. It will require all publicly traded California-based corporations to have at least one female director on their boards by the end of next year. And by the end of 2021, some California-based corporations will need to have three female directors on their boards, depending on the number of board seats, reports the Associated Press. Currently, around 25% of boards in California don’t have a woman on them.

The bill, SB 826, was authored by state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson who noted that research shows that women tend to be more collaborative and better multitaskers. She also believes that having more women on boards could help reduce sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. “[The boardroom] is one of the last bastions of total male domination,” Jackson said. “We know that the public and business are not being well-served by this level of discrimination.”

On signing the bill, Governor Brown acknowledged that it would probably face legal and logistical challenges along its way to implementation, but recent political and social events have shown that women face obstacles in the workforce that men do not. “I don’t minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its ultimate implementation,” Brown said in a statement. “Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C.–and beyond–make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message.”

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