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California becomes first state to require women on corporate boards

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Protesters march in downtown Los Angeles at the second annual Women's March on January 20. On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown said a new law he signed that requires women to sit on corporate boards is necessary to advance gender equality. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

By Ray Downs, UPI

California will become the first state to require publicly traded companies based there to have at least one woman on their corporate boards under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday.

"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 said in a statement after signing the bill into law.

Brown also acknowledged that the law could face legal challenges, but said the law was necessary to make an effort toward gender equality.

"There have been numerous objections to this bill and serious legal concerns have been raised," Brown said in a letter to the state Senate. "I don't minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its ultimate implementation. Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C. -- and beyond -- make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message."

The law requires corporations to have at least one woman on their boards by 2019 and at least three on boards with six members or more by 2021. Companies that don't adhere to the law will face a fine of $100,000 for the first violation.

Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, one of the sponsors of the bill, said the law was necessary because 75 percent of California-based companies have a woman on their boards, "despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive."

"With women comprising over half the population and making over 70 percent of purchasing decisions, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability," Jackson told the Wall Street Journal last month.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: California becomes first state to require women on corporate boards
California becomes first state to require women on corporate boards
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