California will be the first state to require publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their board of directors. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law into place Sunday that requires public companies that reside in California to comply by the end of 2019. If a company has five directors on its board, then the law requires a minimum of two female directors, or three women if the company has seven directors at the close of 2021.
The California Chamber of Commerce has noted that it will be a difficult policy for companies to implement and that it violates constitutional prohibitions against discrimination.
“Until there is significant progress in closing the gender wage gap, policy makers will continue to try and find public policy solutions, like this, to close the gap,” said Melissa Murdock, WorldatWork director of external affairs. “Forced representation on boards may not be the right solution, but policymakers in California are comfortable with testing out progressive policy ideas. It will be interesting to see if other states follow suit and pass similar measures.”
This is one of several measures affecting women that Brown signed on Sunday. It’s his last opportunity to approve or veto laws before his term ends, the Associated Press noted. He also approved legislation requiring smaller employers to provide sexual harassment training and banning secret settlements related to sexual assault and harassment.