Dear Crabby, Should Companies Be Forced to Have Quotas?

Dear Crabby,

I recently heard about Senate Bill No. 115, which was introduced by Senator Sylvia Santana. My understanding is the bill would “require a minimum number of female board members of publicly held corporations, and would apply to both domestic and foreign corporations with principal executive offices in Michigan.” What do you think about this? Should companies be forced to have quotas when it comes to their board?

Thanks,
Billy P. Stan

Dear Mr. Stan,

You ask a very loaded question, sir. And I’m guessing some of my readers may think they know what my answer will be. But I like to think I still have a few tricks up my sleeves in my old age.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

First, last November were midterm elections here in the U.S. And unless you were hibernating, you may recall that a record number of women (117 I believe) won various positions across the country – 90 of those to the U.S. House of Representatives alone. There were plenty of other ‘firsts’ during the election: Republican Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first female senator and Republican Rep. Kristi Noem became South Dakota’s first female governor. On the other side of the aisle Democrat Deb Haaland became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress and Ayanna Pressley became the first black Congresswoman from Massachusetts. And there are many more that you can look up. Now, having said all this I could give two hoots and a tinker’s darn if you love or loathe the women who won. My point in mentioning them is that each woman worked hard to earn the positions. I don’t think they or anyone, in general, want to be handed something they didn’t earn. This country was built on our ability to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and achieve what we put our minds to. My guess is that while Senator Santana’s bill has good intentions, forcing companies to meet a quota of females on their boards might do more harm than good. Would you want to sit in board meetings knowing you weren’t picked for your skill but rather your gender? I don’t think that’s doing anyone any favors. Having said that, I do think having diversity on boards is a good thing.

Another great thing about America is that there are so many different backgrounds and from that, it gives people unique perspectives and experiences. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in past posts that the Detroit neighborhood I grew up in was pretty ethnically diverse. At any given time, you could hear a little Italian, Polish, and a few other languages. Usually at a high volume of sound. My mom would regularly meet with the other women of the neighborhood to exchange recipes, ideas, and just, in general, to look out for each other. Collectively they were quite a force to be reckoned with. So, having women on company boards is a great idea! I just don’t think companies should be forced to do it.

Hope that answers your question.
Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

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