98th anniversary of the 19th Amendment

This Sunday Aug. 26th is the 98th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Women's Right to Vote.

At 2020WOB, we applaud and admire the generations of women whose shoulders we stand on. For those who don't know, even after a 70-year campaign, the 19th Amendment only squeaked by with one vote overmajority in the Tennessee legislature, the last of the states to ratify the national amendment. One single vote!  And President Woodrow Wilson was adamantly opposed to women having the right to vote. It was only the mounting public outcry over women suffrage leaders being imprisoned and force-fed on hunger strikes that finally persuaded him to accept that women are American citizens too, and deserve the right to vote.

2020 Women on Boards is a public awareness and advocacy campaign to increase the numbers of women on public company boards of directors.  Decisions made by corporations affect the course of business, the economy and the lives of employees, families, and communities.  Research shows that companies are more profitable and productive when their boards include women.

Today marks just five working days left (Aug 27 to Aug 31) when the California State Assembly will vote on requiring more women on corporate boards. SB 826 calls for the bare minimum of at least one woman director on every public company headquartered in the state by end of 2019, and at least two women directors by the end of 2021. Sponsored by the National Assn of Women Business Owners-California, the bill SB 826 (named for the date Aug 26) already passed the CA State Senate on May 31st. When the Assembly passes SB 826 this week, there's just more step before it becomes law: Gov. Jerry Brown must sign. Then California will be the first state in the nation to require more women on boards--clearly a business issue that provides shareholders, investors, and retirees some assurance that companies in CA will be more profitable and productive with both genders on board.

It has been five years since the California Legislature passed a Resolution in the state, urging public companies to have a minimum number of women on their boards. But Resolutions have no enforcement. The needle hasn't moved.  The national average of the Russell 3000 is 16% board seats held by women; and California lags behind at 15.5%. If something proactive is not done, the U.S. Government Accounting Office says it could take 40 or 50 years for women to reach parity on boards.

To learn more about the 19th Amendment, click here