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The Recorder: Demand for Female Directors Rises With Bill Mandating More Women on Boards

October 02, 2018

The Recorder featured O’Melveny partner Shelly Heyduk in a story discussing California’s newly passed law requiring companies based in the state to include women on their boards. In her interview, Heyduk discussed consequences of the bill, companies’ attitudes, and the likelihood of companies meeting the 2019 gender quota deadline.

“My view is that a gender quota mandate is premature at this point. Board diversity is a real problem, but what the legislation ignores is that there has been increasing momentum over the past two years to improve board diversity. A growing interest in the issue by institutional shareholders has led to increased engagement with companies about their efforts to improve board diversity. These efforts—through shareholder outreach, votes against directors on boards with no female directors and shareholder proposals—have resulted in change. For example, according to data from Equilar, the percentage of public companies in the Russell 3000 index with no female directors decreased from almost 25 percent in 2016 to approximately 17 percent as of June 30, 2018. While the changes may seem slow, there is momentum toward improved board diversity that is expected to continue,” Heyduk said.

Read the full interview here