Washington State’s New Gender Quota for Boards Reflects Broader Trends

In brief: The passage of Washington State’s S.B. 6037 into law effective June 11, 2020, raises the bar for board diversity in the Evergreen State. The new law, which will apply to listed public companies headquartered there, requires certain disclosures about board diversity for all such companies unless they have met and maintained a set quota for directors who self-identify as women. One-quarter of board members must be/identify as women by January 22, 2022, unless before that time they had such a composition for at least 270 days. Boards that do not meet this level must issue a diversity report. This brief gives board-centric highlights of the new law, provides links to resources (including the full text of the law itself), and draws attention to parallel developments in other states.

This fact sheet can help your board to

  • understand the basic implications of the new Washington State quota law,
  • learn about similar diversity laws or resolutions (and legal challenges) in other states, and
  • develop effective policies for board diversity composition and disclosures. 

Most relevant audiences: board chairs, lead directors, nominating/governance committee members, and general counsel