California has a new law: No more all-male boards

California Enacts Law Prohibiting All-Male Boards

California is once again making headlines with its progressive stance on gender equality. In yet another bold move, the state has passed a law that will require all publicly traded companies headquartered in California to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, boards with five members will need to have at least two female members, and boards with six or more members will need to have at least three women.

The law, known as Senate Bill 826, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 30, 2018, and is the first of its kind in the United States. Proponents of the law argue that it will help level the playing field for women in the corporate world and encourage companies to be more diverse and inclusive in their decision-making processes.

California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who co-authored the bill, stated, “Gender diversity brings a variety of perspectives to the table that can help companies make better decisions and improve their bottom line. We’re not going to ask anymore. We’re tired of being nice. We’re tired of being polite. We’re going to require this because it’s going to benefit the economy. It’s going to benefit the people of California.”

Critics of the law argue that it is government overreach and infringes on companies’ ability to make their own decisions about board composition. Some also question whether the law will be effective in increasing gender diversity on boards or if it will simply result in tokenism.

Regardless of the controversy surrounding the law, it is clear that California is once again at the forefront of the fight for gender equality. By requiring companies to include women on their boards, the state is taking a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and representative corporate environment. It is yet to be seen how other states or even the federal government will respond to California’s groundbreaking law, but one thing is certain: the conversation around gender diversity in the workplace is far from over.
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