Disputed Gender Diversity Law Catapults A Record Number Of Women into corporate board seats

Mike Freeman
The San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Mike Freeman reports, “Despite ongoing legal challenges, California’s 2018 gender diversity law has helped propel a record number of women into corporate board seats in the San Diego region and statewide, according to a new study.”

San Diego

Women directors at San Diego publicly traded companies rose from 12 percent to 31 percent of total board seats since the law — SB 826 — passed three years ago, said the California Partners Project, an advocacy group tracking the impact of the legislation.

Across California, women now hold 29 percent of public company board seats, up from 15.5 percent in 2018.

“I think it is hard to argue that the law hasn’t had a significant effect,” said Olivia Morgan, executive director and co-founder of California Partners Project. “What this shows is companies have been able to find qualified women candidates for the boards when they move that priority from the back burner to the front burner.”

California was the first state in the U.S. to mandate that public companies have female directors or face fines ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. Washington state also passed a gender diversity law, but it’s more limited, with no fines and exceptions for smaller companies, among other differences.

A handful of lawsuits have challenged the California mandate, including one in Los Angeles Superior Court that is currently in trial.

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