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‘I take into account it a win’: Jennifer Siebel Newsom on California’s ladies on boards legislation 

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Is there an answer to the contentious state of U.S. politics? Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the primary companion of the state of California, thinks so, nevertheless it requires extra ladies leaders.

“The threefold reply: specializing in our widespread humanity; getting extra ladies into management, particularly moms and girls of shade; after which clearly, we’ve obtained to name out those that are profiting off of dividing us,” Newsom stated throughout Fortune’s Most Highly effective Girls Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., final week.

Gender fairness has been a precedence for Newsom, an award-winning filmmaker and spouse of California Governor Gavin Newsom. “One of many initiatives we’ve taken on is SB 826, and ensuring that this invoice was applied in a manner that benefited ladies and represented California ladies,” she stated. The California landmark legislation requires the illustration of ladies on company boards of firms headquartered within the state.

“In 2018, when SB 826 was first signed, what we discovered was that 15.5% of the seats on public firm boards have been held by ladies,” Newsom stated. Right this moment, 33% of public firm board seats in California are held by ladies, she stated. Nonetheless, there’s nonetheless work to do. “Latinos characterize 20% of the California inhabitants and are lower than 2% of public firm board seats,” she stated.

Together with the progress Newsom famous, there’s additionally been some pushback. The conservative authorized group Judicial Watch challenged the legislation. And in Might, Superior Courtroom Decide Maureen Duffy-Lewis dominated the legislation violated the proper to equal remedy.

“One other choose gave the legislation a keep in September of this yr,” Newsom stated. “However regardless, folks have moved within the route of recognizing the worth of ladies’s management.”

“Do you take into account it a win, typically talking, no matter what occurs legally?” Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram requested Newsom. 

“I take into account it a win,” she stated. “There are such a lot of advantages to ladies in management.” Different states are attempting to implement initiatives just like California’s SB 826, Newsom stated. “Nevertheless it’s essential for us to guide in California on these points,” she stated.   

California additionally has positioned itself as a protected haven for girls from states the place abortion has been banned. The state has invested greater than $200 million {dollars} in reproductive well being, Newsom stated. “A part of our reproductive well being care bundle is ensuring that we don’t criminalize ladies for miscarriages on high of abortions, and that we don’t criminalize suppliers who’re truly attempting to guard ladies, whether or not in state or out of state,” she stated. 

“They will’t revenue off of exploiting our youngsters any longer

Newsom can also be specializing in the psychological well being of adolescents. “Will increase in despair, nervousness, suicidal ideation, that was already taking place, however the pandemic, clearly, simply pulled the curtain again on that,” she stated.

Newsom’s group, The California Companions Venture, is analyzing how new content material and distribution applied sciences are affecting adolescent psychological well being. The objective is to make clear and talk the warning indicators and greatest practices round media and know-how.

The California Age-Applicable Design Code Act was signed into legislation by Gov. Newsom in September. The invoice requires on-line platforms to proactively consider whether or not their product design or providers, together with algorithms and advertisements, could current a hazard to minors.

“We’re attempting to slowly wake firms as much as the truth that they will’t revenue off of exploiting our youngsters any longer,” First Associate Newsom stated.  

Realizing your energy

Newsom goes to testify towards Harvey Weinstein within the second trial in Los Angeles. She didn’t touch upon the case. However Newsom shared her perspective on realizing her energy. 

“I believe I first found my energy once I made my documentary Miss Illustration, Newsom stated. We premiered on the Sundance Movie Competition and offered [the documentary] to the Oprah Winfrey Community in 2011. I bear in mind standing within the viewers at Sundance; it was standing-room solely, and a offered out viewers.”

An viewers member requested, “‘So, what did you uncover making this movie?’” Newsom recalled. “And I stated, I discovered my voice.” 

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