The online news publication Vox recently brought attention to our lawsuit challenging California’s “woman quota” for the boards of publicly traded companies. We’re grateful that the article’s author, Alexia Fernández Campbell, engages in a thoughtful debate rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks.
Still, her article misstates key facts about the case that need clarifying—because they illustrate why California’s woman quota scheme is so deeply misguided.
Women are doing better in the boardroom than you’ve been led to believe.
The Vox article paints a pretty dismal picture of female representation. But in reality, women are on the rise in corporate boardrooms. That progress suggests California’s woman quota is a solution in search of a problem.
Representation on corporate boards recently increased for the seventh straight quarter in a row. And while women have not yet achieved perfect parity in board membership, they are near parity in hiring.
In Q2 2019, 42% of new board members across the top 3,000 corporations were women. This is due, in part, to pressure from institutional investors, who are exercising their right to vote to place more women on corporate boards. Over 20% of board members for those companies are women; 90% of boards have at least one woman.
You wouldn’t know that from California’s woman quota scheme, which suggests that women can’t make it without a handout. And that’s exactly the harm. The quota offers women a disempowering message that they are being discriminated against, and that the only way they can make it is for the government to put its thumb on the scale. The fact is, women are making sure and steady progress without a mandatory quota.