Senator Skinner Introduces SB 984 to Achieve Gender Equity on State Boards and Commissions

March 8, 2018

Senator Skinner Introduces SB 984 to Achieve Gender Equity on State Boards and Commissions

In honor of International Women’s Day, Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) has introduced legislation that would require that women make up at least one half of the membership of all state appointed boards and commissions.

“By setting this example, California will be a model for public and private entities to diversify their leadership,” Skinner said. “Putting more women in critical roles expands women’s credentials and their opportunities for both public- and private-sector leadership.”

About half of governments across the world set a minimum level of inclusion for women—for good reason. An August 2012 research report by Credit Suisse titled “Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance” tested the performance of 2,360 companies globally over a six-year period and found that on average it would have been better to invest in corporations with women on the management boards than in those without. A 2013 study in the American Journal of Political Science by authors from the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and Colorado College found that women legislators passed more bills than their male counterparts, especially when they were members of the minority party. In 2011, another study in the American Journal of Political Science by Sarah Anzia of Stanford University found that women legislators delivered more funding back to their home districts.

According to Catalyst, a global nonprofit working to increase representation of women in the workplace, only about one in ten board members at Fortune 500 companies are women. When it comes to the CEOs of those companies, less than 7 percent of them were women as of 2017. Here in California, despite making up just over half the population, women are outnumbered by men in the California legislature by nearly four to one. While strides have been made in pay equity and in confronting sexual abuse and harassment, to truly achieve gender equity more women need to be in the influential, decision making roles in both the public and private sector.

“While the legislature can’t pick who wins elections or who becomes the next corporate CEO, ensuring that there is gender parity on all state boards begins to level the playing field,” said Skinner.

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.
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