Fintech on the Block Speakers speak out on California’s Law for Women on Boards
California will require publicly listed companies with headquarters in the state to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by end of 2019. How do you think this is going to change the business environment?
Chris Britt, Co-founder of Chime
Chime has female representation on board since early days, and publicly traded companies probably won’t have an impact whatsoever because they already have women on their board. I think it’s unfortunate that we need to have legislation to make it happen — everyone should know that by having a diverse set of people will help create a better business direction and strategy. Overall, it’s certainly a positive step that will bring more women on boards.
Miko Matsumura, Co-founder of Evercoin
I’ve heard a number of people complaining that this is tokenism, but I feel that this is a strongly positive step. One of the problems with addressing historical imbalances is that systems get into a vicious cycle, especially in certain industries that are male dominated. Because there are “no experienced female directors”, companies don’t choose any. This kind of cycle perpetuates until some form of fix is implemented.
Willie Wang, VP of Engineering at Abra
Abra is not a publicly traded company so the law does not specifically apply to us. From my personal point of view, in a male dominated tech culture in Silicon Valley, women are an untapped resource. I think we need more women engineers, executives, and board members. I think this law will help.
Eli M. Blass, CEO of Bitfinance
This stop will create more opportunities for women to help shape corporate culture and direction at public companies. Not knowing what percent of public companies already have women on the board, it’s not clear how big of an impact this will be.
Andrew Pantyukhin, CEO of Tangem
Higher diversity in corporate boards and other oversight bodies is obviously a great goal. Let’s hope this new regulation is a spark to encourage a new way of thinking about staffing these positions. Personally I prefer positive action to happen under industrial and market pressure. It’s a sad fact legislation had to get involved, but a sadder yet if they saw a strong trend and decided to score political points rather than let it unfold naturally.
Natalia Kara, CEO at Propy
As a woman in a tech industry which is mostly male-dominated, I am very interested in the outcome of the law passed by the state of California. The law will not directly affect many companies as it targets public companies only. Also, the ecosystem of Silicon Valley has become pro-female due to multiple public debates and pressure made. Enforcing female empowerment through legislation may drive a negative connotation to it; however, we should definitely put more effort to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination of women. It will provide many opportunities for talented females to reach their potential in the professional world, and at the same time will create a more balanced work environment. As a CEO, I am convinced that the right male-female ratio is one of the aspects for businesses to unleash their potential and grow exponentially. I am also taking that into account running Propy: when it comes to the management level, we have a great female/male ratio and we balance out. Even though the number of women in the top management positions increases internationally, I would be glad to see more rapid growth, especially in the tech and finance industries.
Will the new law change the business environment? Yes, I believe so. Women tend to take fewer risks than men do and deliver more execution and even more revenues as per recent researches.
However, I wish this law would also improve the situation in granting an equal pay. Even in the 21st century it still remains a problem: women earn less than their male counterparts.
Daniel Wolfe, Co-Founder of Tradingene
I think this will be a very positive change, most importantly as it will create broader opportunities for women to participate in strategic management of corporations. Women tend to bring a broader range of experiences to boards, including dealing with the challenges of managing both a career and childbirth. I expect this will help move companies towards the more humane European approach to integrating women who have children into business.
Phillip Stauffer, Founder at FYRFLY Venture Partners
This step is going to influence the business environment positively as we have many qualified women to take board seats. We might need regulation to accelerate female leadership but quite frankly we should just be free to select the best candidate for the role. At FYRFLY Venture Partners we beat the market in diversity by far, having 40% female founders and/or Senior Executives among quite a few other market-beating diversity metrics.
Justin Newton, CEO of Netki
We believe that diversity of thought at the table leads to better decision making, and to that end think all leadership teams, and teams in general should be diverse with respect to the backgrounds of their members. From this perspective, it is likely that this will lead to better decision making for those corporations adding more diversity to their boards. There are certainly plenty of well qualified women available.