|Related: NASDAQ's annual board diversity matrix.|
California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring corporations to include women on their boards of directors, enacted at a time when women made up fewer than one-sixth of corporate board members in the state, violates the constitutional rights of men, a judge in Los Angeles has ruled.The judge could have added that the law was unnecessary. Smart and competent women have been my bosses, professors, doctors, lawyers, and professional colleagues. They all achieved their station in life without quotas.
The law, passed in 2018, required publicly traded corporations based in California with five members on their boards to have at least one female member by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, at least two women were required on five-member boards, and three women on six-member boards...
“The Legislature’s actual purpose was gender-balancing, not remedying discrimination,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis said Friday. She said the state, in defending the law, had failed to offer evidence that corporations had discriminated against women in selecting board members. Instead, she said, the usual causes were a lack of open board seats and the inclination of boards to choose someone they already knew, such as a corporation’s chief executive.
In any event, Duffy-Lewis said, “there is no compelling governmental interest in remedying discrimination in the board-selection process.” A “compelling interest” was needed, she said, to justify sex discrimination — against either sex — in the California Constitution.
It's indeed tough to get past the "old boys' network," and there's no doubt that some men do have sexist beliefs that women can't do the job (I've heard some of them say so). Fortunately, such people are fading into the sunset, and if there are still corporations whose leaders share those beliefs, they'll fade away, too.