Queens lawmaker announces bill to give women equal representation on state boards

New York State Assembly website

It’s time to close the gender gap within the state’s public boards and authorities, according to Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

The lawmaker representing areas of Bayside, Fresh Meadows and Flushing has introduced legislation that would establish a gender balance in leadership of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. To pass, it would require the approval of both NY and NJ state lawmakers. New Jersey lawmakers will be introducing similar legislation in their respective legislature.

“Following stories about the lack of diversity on the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners in 2016, I decided to take an in-depth look into women’s leadership positions across state boards,” Rozic said. “Since then, three women have been appointed to PANYNJ’s board, but New York has a long way to go in closing the gender leadership gap.”

A second bill Rozic introduced would ensure public authorities statewide, including industrial development agencies and local development corporations, are also gender balanced. Under the bill, women would comprise approximately 50 percent of the membership on such public authorities and agencies.

Only three women sit on the 12-member Port Authority Board of Commissioners, Rozic said. No public state board in New York is composed of a majority of women.

Rozic’s legislation follows an announcement made earlier this month by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Council on Women and Girls, who said they will work to increase the number of women on state boards. The proposal was one of many made during Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda for New York.

“I applaud Governor Cuomo for including this issue among his priorities this year and look forward to increased diversity on our public boards,” Rozic said.

Although women make up more than half of New York’s population, they constitute approximately 21.7 percent of positions on local development corporations, 20.26 percent of industrial development agencies and 20.9 percent of other LDCs and state public authorities, according to public data compiled in 2015 by the New York State Authorities Budget Office.

While gender quota directives are more commonly used on corporate boards in the private sector, Rozic noted, they have proved effective in closing the leadership gap.

Each bill has been referred to the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee. Queens Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan has co-sponsored each of Rozic’s bills.

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