The U.S. could be the next country to introduce gender quotas for corporate board members and nominees.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would require public companies to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission the breakdown of men and women serving on their boards, and for the SEC to disclose that data in an annual update.
A recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office, which Maloney requested, found that women held just 16% of board seats at S&P 1500 firms in 2014. While that was up from 8% in 1997, Maloney said that it could still be decades before boardroom parity is reached.
"At this rate, our granddaughters and their daughters will face discrimination," she said Monday at an event in New York. "We've got to get proactive, and encourage more companies to take the gender gap on their boards seriously."
Several countries, including France, Norway and Spain, have laws in place that require firms to have a minimum number of females on their boards.
Maloney's bill would also require companies to report recruitment strategies to get more women into senior leadership positions, on boards and in management, and urge them to develop other strategies for gender parity achievement.
"Every study shows that it's not just good for half the population, it's important for the bottom line," Maloney said. "Profits go up when women are in the boardroom."