California becomes the first state in America to legally require corporations to have at least one woman on their board of directors. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation on Sunday which will give companies until the end of 2019 to comply. This mandate will then increase to at least two women by 2021.
Although a handful of states have nonbinding terminology promoting gender equality, California is the first to mandate it as a state requirement to do business. The state is expecting heavy push back from corporations who see this as a way for the government to control board decisions.
Currently, according to State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat from Santa Barbara who co-authored the bill, “California corporate boards had barely nudged up from 15.5 percent in 2013 to 16 percent this year.”
USA Today notes that the “bill provided statistics from 2017 showing one-fourth of California’s public companies in the comprehensive Russell 3000 index had no female directors. Nationally, nearly half the 75 largest IPOs from 2014-16 were launched by companies with no women on their boards.”
With women required for all corporate boards this means that any company, whether big or small will have to comply which could change the male dominated startup industry in a huge way.