Corporate boards in California will now have to include women, by law.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Sunday that requires publicly traded companies which are headquartered in the West Coast state to include at least one woman in the list of their directors by the end of next year. California now has become the first state to have such legislation.
Brown reportedly wrote in a signing message, that given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed over the years and for so long, it is high time that corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in the United States.
As per the new law, by July 2021, at least two women should be included on a board having five members and at least three women must be on boards which are having six members or more, according to the Times. Some of the tech giants including Facebook, Apple, Tesla, Alphabet, Yelp, Intel and others which are headquartered in Silicon Valley are subject to this new law. In case they violate the law, they will face fines of $100,000 for a first instance and $300,000 for the second one.
Silicon Valley has faced scrutiny several times in the past few years over gender issues. Since 2014, many major tech companies have released diversity reports. It showed that the percentages of women and minorities in the tech industry are considerably low. This also translated to a very low number of women in leadership positions. After that Google, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and others have developed suitable programs and partnerships to improve diversity.
A report produced by Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures and McKinsey & Co. last month found that as less as 5 percent of the technology industry’s philanthropy and social responsibility efforts support women in tech. The more sad truth is that only 0.1 percent focus on women of color.
Brown’s office was not available immediately to respond to request for additional comment on this matter.