Women make up about 40 percent of students at top MBA programs, but hold only 20 percent of U.S. corporate board seats, and they represent less than 5 percent of big company CEOs. Clearly, there's a disconnect there.  

That's why California passed a new law recently requiring some companies to include women on their corporate boards. It's a worthy goal, but there's also a big problem with the law.

As Andrew Ross Sorkin points out, even California Gov. Jerry Brown recognized as he signed it that there were "serious legal concerns" about whether the law is even constitutional.

So, expect lots of lawsuits. Beyond that, since so many companies are chartered in states like Delaware and Nevada, the law won't apply to them even if they're headquarters are in California.

One Stanford professor Sorkin quotes says he believes it will apply to only 72 companies, and is likely to "increase the number of women directors at the Fortune 500 by a grand total of one."

If the goal is to send a message, mission accomplished. However, real change will have to come from where it usually does in business, with leaders recognizing that diversity is an asset--something that helps them serve customers, provide value to stakeholders, and build stronger companies.

Here's what else is on the must-read list today:

Amazon's $15 per hour announcement: Day 2

Amazon employees love their new pay raises, which start next month. For the company, it means another $1 or $2 billion in annual payroll. So why do it? The answer involves offsetting recent bad publicity, hiring like crazy, and even making nice with Bernie Sanders.--Louise Matsakis, Wired

Tim Berners-Lee has been building something big

The founder of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, says he's fed up with what the Internet has become. So he's launching a startup called Inrupt, aimed at encouraging privacy and ownership of your own data, and taking time off from his job teaching at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to do it.--Katrina Brooker, Fast Company

Totally fictional but essentially true

When Jessica Powell left her job as head of public relations at Google, she did something unusual: She got a master's degree in creative writing and wrote a novel. It's called The Big Disruption, and she describes it as a "totally fictional but essentially true" account of business life in Silicon Valley.--Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

When the country's divided politics threaten your small business

The husband-and-wife owners of Fiola, an upscale restaurant in Washington, D.C., are used to having VIP guests of all stripes. But after protestors decided to disrupt Ted Cruz and his wife's dinner last week, Fiola has suffered a bombardment of one-star Yelp reviews, crank calls, and even death threats.--Tim Carman, The Washington Post

A hero retires

I was in Washington recently for the military retirement of a close friend, Army Maj. D.J. Skelton. D.J. was the most-wounded U.S. soldier ever to return to command in combat, and while he might not like me calling him a hero in this article, that's exactly what he is. His story is a truly inspirational example of leadership and resilience.--Quill Lawrence, NPR

Published on: Oct 3, 2018
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