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If Nasdaq Gets Its Way, All Listed Companies Must Have At Least Two ‘Diverse’ Board Members


If passed by the SEC, any Nasdaq-listed companies that do not comply with the new rules will have to “provide an explanation” to all shareholders.


The Nasdaq stock exchange amended its diversity plan on Dec. 1 and filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to mandate all companies maintain at least two board members from diverse backgrounds.

“Nasdaq recently submitted a proposal to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission focused on diversity of the boards of companies listed on our U.S. exchange,” wrote the President and CEO of Nasdaq Adena T. Friedman in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. “Our proposal establishes a recommended objective for companies to include at least two board members from diverse backgrounds. We asked that each company disclose anonymous aggregate data — self-disclosed by the directors — regarding their gender identity, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.”

If passed by the SEC, any Nasdaq-listed companies that do not comply with the new rules will have to “provide an explanation” to all shareholders. The plan requires that there is a “self-identified” female on each company board, as well as someone “who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+,” according to a statement released by Nasdaq in December.

“This proposal and partnership gives companies an opportunity to make progress toward increasing representation of women, underrepresented minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community on their boards,” Nelson Griggs, president of Nasdaq stock exchange, said.

While Friedman claims this new proposition “is not a quota,” it is unclear how forcing companies to adopt racist affirmative action measures, or else risk notifying their respective boards, is not a hard-line stance against meritocracy.

In February, McDonald’s announced plans to implement diversity hiring quotas, with the aim of having a so-called equitable representation of men and women employees by the year 2030.

“As a world-leading brand that considers inclusion one of our core values, we will accept nothing less than real, measurable progress in our efforts to lead with empathy, treat people with dignity and respect, and seek out diverse points of view to drive better decision-making,” President and CEO Chris Kempczinski of McDonald’s wrote in a LinkedIn article. “Today, I would like to share two goals we have set as we continue to build the strong foundation we need to fully realize our ambition.”

Similarly, lawmakers in California approved a bill in August of 2020 mandating that all companies based in the state maintain at least one underrepresented minority board member, and three by 2022 for boards large enough.

“Overall, our proposal seeks to demonstrate that, with proper disclosure and clear objectives, companies and investors can create momentum toward an approach to capitalism that offers more opportunity to more people. We believe this can be accomplished through a market-driven solution — rather than government intervention,” Friedman said.

Across the country, institutions are aiming to destroy the notion of equality for equity. In a tweet right before the November presidential election, now-Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted a video discussing the differentiation of the two, admitting that equity denotes not equal opportunity, but rather equal outcome: a tenet of communism.