By Annalisa Barrett
Nearly all of the public companies subject to California’s first-in-the-nation board gender diversity mandate met the requirements by the December 31 deadline, according to a new report that looks at the law’s early impact.
Only 4 percent of California-headquartered companies listed on the NYSE or Nasdaq had all-male boards at the end of the 2019, compared to 29 percent as of June 30, 2018, according to The women changing California boardrooms published by the Board Leadership Center.
The California law, SB 826, elevated the conversation about the importance of diversity in the boardroom. Boards that include more women and directors with diverse backgrounds and experiences are more effective on a variety of measures, including financial performance, risk oversight and sustainability.
The study looks at the women who joined the California boards which had no female directors at the beginning of 2019, the first year in which the mandate was in effect. These women bring a wealth of experience and independence to their director service. The study showed that the vast majority (76 percent) have advanced degrees (e.g., MBA, PhD, MD).
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the women are actively employed in addition to their board service. Among those, nearly half, 46 percent, currently hold C-suite positions, including titles such as chief executive officer or president, chief finance officer, chief operating officer, or other C-suite roles. Importantly, almost all (94 percent) of the women joined their boards as outside directors.
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