Update: Oversight Chair Election, Promoting Diversity on Corporate Boards, & more
On Wednesday, my House Democratic colleagues elected me as the new Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. I am deeply humbled and grateful to them for entrusting me with this role and am honored by this opportunity to do more for the American people. I will do my best to follow the honorable example that Chairman Cummings left for us all. As we know, there's much work to be done -and I can't wait to get started.
In addition to the Caucus vote this week, House Democrats passed the Meeks-Maloney Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019, I voted to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, and I was named to City & State New York’s The 2019 Women Power 100.
Chairing the House Committee on Oversight and Reform
When I first came to Congress, I wanted to be on the Committee on Oversight and Reform because it fights corruption, ensures government transparency and accountability, and has the tools to conduct the deep-dive investigations needed to protect and help the American people. It also provides support for the goals of individual members and to other committees.
When I was growing up, very few women were in elected office, and I thought my options were to be a schoolteacher, a librarian or a nurse, and I studied them very carefully. I became a teacher and later on, worked for the Board of Education. It was this work that showed me the incredible power of government to help people. And so, I went to work for two Speakers and the Democratic leader of the State Senate. Never in my life did I ever think I would have the honor of being elected to the great City Council of New York or to the United States Congress.
And when I came to Congress, I noticed there were no women in the portraits on the walls and there were no women committee chairs. I would always wonder, “where were the women?”
In fact, in a 2012 Oversight Committee hearing on contraception coverage, I had to ask, "where are the women," because the witness panel was all men. And then when I asked for a woman to testify, they said she was unqualified. It was unbelievable.
So, I never thought I'd have the great honor of chairing such an important committee and I am humbled by the additional honor of being the first woman to chair it. I thank all my colleagues for entrusting this position to me, and I promise I will never stop working in pursuit of the goals and values Democrats are advancing to help people.
Corporate Board Diversity
The Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2019 is very simple, but the goal is extremely important — increasing diversity in corporate leadership. One of the key pieces of this, I believe, is getting more women and minorities in corporate leadership positions. Leaders set the tone, and they set the priorities.
I asked the GAO to study this issue in 2015, and they found that women were badly under-represented on corporate boards. They also found that if the current trends continue, it would take more than 40 years for women to reach parity with men on corporate boards. So clearly, something needs to change.
Increasing diversity in corporate leadership is not just a social issue — it’s good business too. Study after study has shown that companies with greater gender, racial, and ethnic diversity on their boards perform better financially. This bill would help investors accomplish this by requiring public companies to report the makeup of their boards in their annual reports and would also establish a Diversity Advisory Group at the SEC, which would study strategies to increase diversity on corporate boards. Making meaningful progress on corporate diversity is going to require a range of different policies in addition to the improved disclosures in this bill but this is a key step in the right direction.
The 2019 Women Power 100
I am so honored to be included on City & State’s list of so many incredible New York women. Throughout my years in public service, I have fought to make New York City and our nation stronger. I am proud to have passed laws like the Never Forget the Heroes Act and to have worked with advocates across the country to get us so close to finally enshrining women’s equality in the Constitution with the Equal Rights Amendment. I want to thank City & State for including me in The 2019 Women Power 100 and for recognizing the amazing, powerful women of New York State.
As always, your concerns still and always will remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress