California has always been the embodiment of the boundary-pushing left in the United States, and as time has passed, some of those boundaries have moved beyond anything that our forebearers would have recognized as American or purely capitalist. Take, for example, an approved bill awaiting the signature of Governor Jerry Brown which would require a fixed number of women to reside on the board of directors of any California-based corporation which sells stock on a major U.S. exchange.
It’s one issue to believe that women are underrepresented in corporate boardrooms. It’s an utterly different matter to a) decide that the dearth of women is due completely to discrimination and b) take action as a government to mandate that one member of every three-person board, two members of every five-member board, and three members of every six-plus member board identify as a woman.
But condemning companies whose boards are without women or lacking the desired ratio as discriminatory is precisely what the state legislature has done. And, having done that, they’ve set forth the wheels of once again making humanity’s inherent bigotry right. After all, there’s no human flaw that a little perfecting from the California legislature can’t fix.
Last month California’s SB-826 passed the state Senate by a vote of 23-9 and the Assembly by a count of 41-26. All that’s left is for California’s governor to sign off on the bill, and history tells us that he will – it’s not as if the head brass in the Republic of California is any less left-leaning than the legislature. Once the bill is signed and sealed, businesses will have the right to pick the members of their boards, so long as they can find a suitable woman among their prospective candidates.
‘This bill, no later than the close of the 2019 calendar year, would require a domestic general corporation or foreign corporation that is a publicly held corporation, as defined, whose principal executive offices, according to the corporation’s SEC 10-K form, are located in California to have a minimum of one female, as defined, on its board of directors, as specified. No later than the close of the 2021 calendar year, the bill would increase that required minimum number to 2 female directors if the corporation has 5 directors or to 3 female directors if the corporation has 6 or more directors.’ (legislature.ca.gov)
And if they can’t find a suitable female that fits their specifications, understands the unique challenges and needs of a given corporation, and – this is important – wants the job?
Tough shit. Find one.
‘Companies that opt not to replace current board members could add new seats to meet the gender requirement.
The bill would authorize fines against companies that don’t comply. The first violation could bring a fine equal to the average annual cash compensation of the corporation’s directors.’ (VC Star)
Along with these guidelines come internet-posted updates on which companies are to be fined and publically shamed for their lack of enlightenment. Never mind that this blind, gender-based selection process will inevitably overlook more qualified candidates, minority men among them in certain cases. Women apparently rank higher on the social pecking order when it comes to social engineering priorities.
The irony, like so many of the decisions coming out of California that qualify as mind-blowing headlines for the vast majority of U.S. citizens, is that supposed good intentions reveal how out of touch with the capitalist mentality and regular human condition the grievance industry truly is.
Picture this scenario: General Motors is in dire need of a re-brand. They’re simply looking for somebody to boost sales, add some versatility to their image as a truck-first, flashy domestic car brand whose vehicles have little substance or longevity, and enforce a culture of success. Eventually, their search leads them to a homegrown, seasoned natural leader with executive-level experience covering GM’s global product development, supply chain, purchasing operations who is generally second-to-few when it comes to the dedication and familiarity with GM’s operations.
There’s just one catch: that individual is a woman.
According to the mindset of those who pushed for and passed California’s SB-826, she wouldn’t get the job. Because, after all, women will never be chosen over a man for such a high-stakes job, especially in a company with a reputation as a boy’s club such as GM’s.
She’s qualified, but her genitalia is a non-starter, right?
The problem with this line of thinking is that the aforementioned candidate is no hypothetical. It describes current General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, listed as the most potent of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business.
And Barra is no one-off phenomenon. While Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson would likely acknowledge the assumptions and perceptions she had to overcome as she ascended along her career path, she is also a living testament that, when the fit is right, a woman can be tasked with filling the most critical leadership role that a Fortune 500 company has to offer. Contrary to the grievance line of thinking, the vast majority of men are not so overcome by gender-derived inferiority complexes that they can’t recognize and accept when the “man for the job” is a woman.
But, as has been proven time and again, the Californian legislature is not one for nuance. The idea that women may disproportionately choose not to go into lines of work that will lead to executive positions at exchange-listed corporations, or that many would choose to sacrifice career ambition to dedicate more time to raising a family is not considered.
According to the Cali legislature mindset, in the absence of evidence, assume discrimination.
Every. Single. Time.
And beyond that, act on that discrimination. Force corporate hands. Implement quotas, no exceptions or compromises.
(Just don’t assume her gender.)
Pass SB-826. And watch as corporations are forced to sift through the ranks for not one, not two, but three women to fill board positions, even when they have to dig deep for women who both want to and can fill those roles reasonably.
And, in time, watch businesses flee the state for more rational pastures where the contents of one’s inner thigh are neither a career asset nor liability.