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California Bill Would Require Women On Corporate Boards

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The state of California is paving the way for more women to serve in positions of power in companies.

"It's a world where all you see are men in the boardroom. I find it very hard to believe only men can qualify," said state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).

Sen. Jackson is determined to change that. She's pushing Senate Bill 826 which would make California the first state to require companies to hire women on their corporate boards of directors or face a fine.

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"Women on boards of directors perform better for their shareholders," she said.

Yet she says, of the 445 publicly traded companies in California, a quarter of them lack a single woman in their boardrooms.

And among the critics fighting to keep it that way is almost every chamber of commerce in the state. They argue, the bill discriminates against men. And it's unconstitutional.

"We're not saying we're gonna kick men off the board. It says if you have a board of five people, all men, you have to add a position," she said.

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Shattering the glass ceiling? Or breaking down big businessmen? It's now up to the politicians to decide.

"I'd rather women make it onto the boards rather than have it happen from here but whatever gets us forward," one man said outside the state capitol.

The groups listed in opposition to the bill weren't available for comment on this story.

As for the bill, it's now on its way to the assembly before it can move to the governor's desk for a vote.

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