Women still face limited opportunities in management, make less than men, and experience discrimination and harassment. Today the Board of Supervisors approved two motions, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to eliminate these workplace disparities. One motion is a 4-signature letter in support of state legislation to improve gender representation and balance on corporate boards of directors. The other motion requires adherence to the County’s Policy of Equity (CPOE) in all future County contracts.

“Throughout my career in public service, I have been fighting to ensure that every person, regardless of their gender, has access to the same opportunities, salary, and pathways to advancement as everyone else,” said Supervisor Solis. “When women are strongly represented at top-management levels, companies perform better in profitability, productivity, and workforce engagement. Furthermore, by adhering County contractors to the County’s antidiscrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures, more workers will be safeguarded from prohibited and illegal conduct. By empowering and protecting women, these actions will advance our economy and benefit all residents, regardless of gender.”

“The women and girls in LA deserve an equal chance at success, but too often, the disparities affecting their lives are invisible or discounted,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “These motions will continue to help the County achieve gender equity and empower all our residents.”

Currently, one-fourth of all public companies in the Russell 3000 index in California have no women on their board of directors. The national average is only 16%, and Los Angeles County lags behind both the state and the nation at only 12%. California Senate Bill 826 (Jackson and Atkins) seeks to address this disparity. Under this bill, there must be at least one woman on the board of publicly held companies in California by the end of 2019 with increasing numbers required, depending on the size of the board, by the end of 2021. Some nations, such as Germany and Norway, have instituted quotas to address the lack of gender diversity. Today the Board of Supervisors approved a 4-signature letter to the LA County state legislative delegation in support of SB 826.

“The pipeline is overflowing with qualified women executives and business owners who would be outstanding directors for companies here in Los Angeles. The problem is there are no seats available,” said Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, past president and statewide board member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-CA) which sponsored SB 826. “SB 826 addresses this issue, and we believe shareholders will applaud this fair solution. Thank you to Supervisor Solis and the LA County Board of Supervisors for your support of equity on corporate boards.”

CPOE was proactively adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2011 as a means to address and prevent inappropriate workplace behavior. While CPOE is widely regarded as a model program, the County’s Executive Office’s County Equity Oversight Panel recommended enhancements to CPOE in December 2017. Today’s action, incorporating CEOP in County contracts, was one of those recommendations. This motion requires that all prospective County service contracts and future contract amendments include provisions requiring both acknowledgment and adherence to the CPOE.