Jackson Urges California Companies To Put More Women in Board Rooms and Top Posts "Because It's 2015"

November 17, 2015

Annual Study of Women Business Leaders Shows Incremental Progress To Achieve Gender Equity

SACRAMENTO – The UC Davis Graduate School of Management just released its annual report of California Women Business Leaders, a study of how many women hold the highest-paid executive positions and board seats in the state’s 400 largest public companies.  In response, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and author of the nation’s strongest equal pay law, set to take effect in January, released the following statement:

“This report shines an important spotlight on the presence of women in board rooms and in high-level executive positions in California’s top public companies. The good news is that progress has been made. There are more female CEOs in these top California companies than in the prior year, and the number of companies without any women in their boardrooms or top posts has dropped to a new and never-before-seen low.

But progress is still just inching along. Women still hold only one in every eight of the highest-paid executive positions and board seats in the state. Recently, the new Canadian prime minister was asked why he appointed a gender-equal cabinet and he said simply, “Because it’s 2015.” It’s time for corporate California to do the same. Because it’s 2015, it’s time to give more women a seat at the table at California’s top companies. Because it’s 2015, it’s time to see California, a leader in so many areas, also take a lead in bringing women into top leadership positions in its publicly held corporations.

At the same time, I am delighted that companies like Williams-Sonoma in San Francisco and LTC Properties in Westlake Village, and QAD Inc. in Santa Barbara and Deckers Brands in Goleta, in my Senate district, are leading the way in making gender diversity a top priority. Studies consistently show that having women in the board rooms and in top leadership positions is not only good for women, it’s good for businesses and the economy.”

In 2013, Jackson authored SCR 62, passed by the Legislature, encouraging publicly held companies with corporate boards of nine or more to fill at least three of those seats with women within the next three years; for boards with five to eight seats to have a minimum of two women on its board; and boards with fewer than five director seats to have at least one woman on its board. The resolution, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, while encouraging these goals, was non-binding.

A copy of the UC Davis report is available here.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County. 

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Contact: Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4019 or lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov