Recognizing that “equitable and diverse gender representation in the leadership ranks of companies in Pennsylvania is essential to enhance the competitive advantage of the Commonwealth in the global economy,” on April 25, 2017, the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania unanimously passed House Resolution No. 273.

The Resolution urges all “nonprofit, privately held and publicly traded institutions and companies doing business in [Pennsylvania] to increase the gender diversity on their boards of directors and in senior management positions and set goals by which to measure their progress.” Specifically, that by December 31, 2020, these institutions and companies have a minimum of 30% of women directors and measure their progress toward a goal of equal representation of men and women in leadership positions on an annual basis.

The Resolution relies on the following statistics:

  • Women made up 43.9% of the labor force in Pennsylvania in 2015.
  • In Pennsylvania in 2016, women held 17.2% of board seats at Fortune 1000 companies and 12.7% of executive positons in the largest 100 public companies headquartered in Pennsylvania.
  • Of those 100 companies, 41 have no women in executive positions, 18 have no women on their boards of directors, 41 have only 1 woman on their boards and 9 have no women on their boards of directors or in their executive suites.
  • “Companies with more women on boards had better financial results than those with fewer women and that companies with sustained high representation of women board directors [3 or more women board directors in at least 4 out of 5 years] significantly outperformed those with low representation…” -The Catalyst Research Center for Equity in Business Leadership, The Bottom Line
  • “[W]omen are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager – so far fewer end up on the path to leadership – and they are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.” – LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company study, Women in the Workplace 2016,

The Resolution is the result of the work of The Forum of Executive Women, which, in conjunction with PwC, issues an annual “Women on Boards Report.” The report pushes for progress in the boardroom and C-suites, recognizing that multiple strategies and forces are needed to challenge the status quo.

Click here for a full version of HR 273.