Source: The Street
Every day, it seems, brings more news about the battle for women to have an equal position to men in corporate America. Just this week, massive online retailer and Web services firm Amazon reversed course in its opposition to a shareholder resolution that would commit the company to pay equity for women. It’s 2016 and paying men and women the same for a day’s work is still, puzzlingly, an issue.
Perhaps that’s because women are still restricted from and, in some cases, completely shut out of the highest echelons of power in the country’s biggest companies.
Women are still severely underrepresented in corporate boardrooms across America. While progress has been made on the issue with more women in S&P 500 boardrooms than ever before, one congresswoman is taking action to speed up the process.
U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, recently introduced the Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act (H.R. 4718) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a gender diversity advisory group to study and make recommendations on strategies to increase gender diversity on corporate boards and amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require publicly traded companies to make disclosures to shareholders with respect to gender diversity.
Though less than a month old, the proposed legislation has already received quite a bit of support. Representatives Donald Beyer of Virginia and Debbie Dingell of Michigan, both Democrats, are co-sponsors of the legislation. And just days after the bill was introduced, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter (PDF) offering its support.
“We’ve been trying to partner up with other business leaders to try to create some different organic ways to get more qualified women on boards,” said Tom Quaadman, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets, in a phone interview with TheStreet. “When Congresswoman Maloney introduced her bill … it’s something that we were very supportive of.”
We reached out to Representative Maloney to learn more about the Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act and why getting more women into the boardroom sooner rather than later matters. Here’s what she had to say, via email.