California law requires Silicon Valley to add women to company boards

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat.


Corporate boards in California are now required by law to include women.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill into law that requires publicly traded companies headquartered in the West Coast state to include at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of next year, according to the Los Angeles Times. California is reportedly the first state to have such legislation.

“Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long, it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America,” Brown reportedly wrote in a signing message.

By July 2021, at least two women must be included on boards with five members and at least three women must be on boards with six members or more, according to the Times. Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Tesla, Alphabet, Intel, Yelp and others headquartered in Silicon Valley are subject to the law. They will reportedly face fines of $100,000 for a first violation and $300,000 for a second or following violation.

Silicon Valley has faced scrutiny in recent years over gender issues. Since 2014, several major tech companies have released diversity reports showing that the percentages of women and minorities in the tech industry were low, which also translated to low numbers of women in leadership positions. Since then, Intel, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and others have developed programs and partnerships to improve diversity.

In September, a report produced by Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures and McKinsey & Co. found that only about 5 percent of the tech industry’s philanthropy and social responsibility efforts support women in tech, and only 0.1 percent focus on women of color.

Brown’s office didn’t immediately respond to request for additional comment. 

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