California Senate Passes Skinner’s Measure to Ensure Gender Equity on State Boards and Commissions

May 30, 2018

California Senate Passes Skinner’s Measure to Ensure Gender Equity on State Boards and Commissions

Today, with bipartisan support, the California Senate passed Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) groundbreaking bill requiring each of California’s appointed state boards and commissions to have a minimum amount of seats filled by women. Skinner’s SB 984 “Ensuring A Seat at the Table,” must now pass the Assembly and be signed by Governor Brown to become law.

“Women have had the vote for nearly a hundred years, but we still hold stunningly few of the decision making seats in the halls of government or in business” Skinner said. “SB 984 recognizes organizations and institutions do better when they have more women in leadership.” 
Despite making up just over half of California’s and the nation’s population, a UC Davis study showed that women make up only about 13 percent of directors at the 400 largest publicly traded corporations in California. And as of 2017, only 24 Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs. Things are little better in the California State Legislature, where women comprise just 23 percent of lawmakers.

Gender equity in decision-making bodies in business and in government is proven to add value. A study conducted by Catalyst reports that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on their board of directors attained significantly higher financial performance than those with the lowest representation of women.

SB 984 would require state appointed boards and commissions to include the following minimum proportions of women, based on the board or commission’s size: 40 percent women, if there are six or more members; two women, if there are five members; and one woman, if there are four or fewer members.

SB 984 would cement California’s leadership in gender inclusion and increase women appointees’ access to other public- and private-sector leadership positions by expanding their credentials, networks and opportunities.

“My equity bill is needed because women still face unfair obstacles to getting a seat at the table, with SB 984 California will lead by example and ensure that women are in leadership roles” 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.