Act Requires Report Stating No. Of Women On Boards

Corporations in New York state will have to report the composition of their boards of directors under legislation passed by the state Legislature.

A.6330/S.4278, requires the Department of State and the state Taxation and Finance Department to study the number of women directors who serve on each board of directors of domestic corporations and foreign corporations licensed to do business in New York state. The information will be collected as part of the corporation’s filing statement required by the Business Corporation Law.

The Women On Corporate Board Study Act requires the Department of State to public a study with its results on or before Feb. 1, 2022, with a new report published every fourth year by Feb. 1. Copies of the report will be given to the governor, temporary president of the state Senate and Assembly speaker. The study is also to include the number of women directors, total number of directors that constitute boards of directors, analysis of the change in number of women directors from previous years, and the aggregate percentage of women directors on all boards.

“This bill would require every corporation, both New York corporations and every foreign corporation authorized to do business in New York to report the number of directors constituting the board and how many directors of such board are women,” Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, said while questioning Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, D-New York City. “Is that in a particular point in time as of the end of the year or as of a particular date? Because I would imagine particularly with some corporations that’s a constantly changing number.”

Goodell voted against the legislation on the Assembly floor. It was approved 135-11 in the state Assembly and 61-1 by the state Senate.

Seawright, in her legislative justification for the bill, wrote that nearly 53 percent of state residents are women, but that may not be reflected in corporate board rooms.

“New York state is one of the largest economies in the world and as such, sets an example for responsible businesses globally,” she wrote. “We must ensure that women are included in the discussions and decisions that affect corporate actions and profitability. This legislation will provide for a study to identify the number of women presently sitting on corporate boards, require corporations to prepare an annual report of actions taken to promote gender diversity on their boards and future action plans.”


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