On September 15, Women Serve on Boards had the opportunity to meet California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, widely known for her enactment of the California Fair Pay Act last fall. This meeting was facilitated by the Bay Area Council’s Gender Equity Committee. At the discussion, Senator Jackson shared her insight into passing the bill by the California legislature with unanimous support. According to Senator Jackson, the Fair Pay Act “will ensure that women are paid equally for work that is substantially similar to the work of their male colleagues, and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask how much their male colleagues are paid.”
Notably, Senator Jackson attributed most of the Fair Pay Act’s success to the economic necessity argument – less money circulates the marketplace when companies pay female employees less than their male counterparts. Similar to the economic argument that Women Serve on Boards makes to Fortune 500 companies who have zero women serving on their boards, companies are leaving money on the table by not appointing females to the Board of Directors, impacting their fiduciary duty to shareholders.
While the meeting focused on closing the gender wage gap, Senator Jackson also stressed the importance of funneling equitable corporate practices from the top-down. Having voices at the executive level helps achieve critical mass and change perspectives. She spoke about more women serving in leadership positions, especially on boards, as well as companies providing on-site child care creating more stable, equal business environments for women. She applauded companies that are ahead of the curve, which will ultimately lead to less judicial decisions made via litigation.
Women Serve on Boards participated in this lively discussion of equality promotion in the workplace. Many of the desired policies discussed are highlighted in the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s recent Best Practices Resource Guide, to which Women Serve on Boards contributed.