Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, released the following statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of a proposed rule that would require companies listed on a national stock exchange to meet gender and racial diversity requirements and provide diversity data of their board members.
“As Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, diversity and inclusion has been a very important issue to me and the Committee. Since my days in the California Assembly, where I pushed California to divest the state pension from businesses in apartheid South Africa, I have promoted corporate social responsibility and advocated for greater board diversity. In the Dodd-Frank legislation, I established the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion to hold federal agencies accountable for diversity and inclusion practices. Upon becoming Chairwoman, I established the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, led by Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, to hold the financial services industry accountable to increasing diversity, including on corporate boards.
“My Committee has held hearings and passed legislation. We have also held megabank CEOs accountable for their diversity efforts and heard from experts detailing how diverse boards and workforces are good for business. Numerous studies have shown that organizations that have a strong culture and commitment to diversity and justice retain more employees, have improved market share, improve their brand, have greater success in new markets; all which benefits the bottom line.
“So, I’m pleased by the SEC’s decision to approve NASDAQ’s listing rule to bring transparency to diversity data within companies listed on the exchange, including disclosing how diverse their boards are. But this work is not done. There are other exchanges that do not have a similar listing requirement. The SEC must now ensure that public companies provide the diversity data that investors demand.”