Nasdaq Pushing Corporations to Do the Bare Minimum When It Comes to Diversity on Their Leadership Boards

Illustration for article titled Nasdaq Pushing Corporations to Do the Bare Minimum When It Comes to Diversity on Their Leadership Boards
Photo: Goran Vrhovac (Shutterstock)

Alright, LLC Twitter, this one’s for you: Nasdaq has announced plans to push for corporations to do the absolute bare minimum in ensuring diversity in their boardrooms.


According to ABC News, a proposal submitted Tuesday by Nasdaq to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would require companies listed on the stock exchange to publicly detail the diversity statistics of their leadership boards. Not only that, the proposal would mandate that company’s have at least one “underrepresented minority,”(LGBTQ or non-white) and one woman on their board. If a company doesn’t have either it could run the risk of being delisted from the exchange.

The new rules would ultimately need to be approved by the SEC in order to take effect. Companies based in other countries can meet the proposed diversity requirements by having at least two women on its board.

From ABC News:

Under the proposal, however, Nasdaq-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose its board diversity statistics within one year of the SEC’s approval of the new rules. From then, all companies will be expected to have one diverse director within two years of the SEC’s approval of the rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and Nasdaq Global Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within four years and companies listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within five years.

If companies do not meet the diverse board requirements within the timeframes, they will have to provide a public explanation for why or face possible delisting from the exchange.

The folks at Nasdaq seem to be really gung-ho about the push.

“Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for  Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders,” Adena Friedman, Nasdaq’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America.”


Even the ACLU is all about it, with its Executive Director Anthony Romero praising NASDAQ for “heeding the call of the moment.”

What do I think? Well, as just a simple nigga in a Green Lantern shirt, my understanding of stocks and corporate America is limited. I do know what looks like a well-meaning bad idea when I see one, though.


Look, pushing for diversity in all echelons of public and private businesses is a noble and necessary goal; I’ll never argue otherwise. I can’t help but feel, though, that this is really just setting up folks to be token hires and could create potentially unpleasant work environments for whoever takes those seats at the table.

I ain’t the first one to say it, but the table wasn’t built for us. These systems weren’t built for us. It feels like they’re trying to fix a problem without addressing the root causes, and the culture that made a proposal like this even seem necessary.


I mean, y’all really don’t think we’re going start to seeing corporations coming out like “Hey, we didn’t just hire a Black guy. He’s gay too. And he watched all of Naruto, including the filler episodes. That’s like three things right there, run us our praise.”

Again, I’m just a nigga on a laptop, so I could just be looking for storm clouds on a sunny day. Then again, given what we know about corporate America, this seems like it could be just another half measure that makes them feel good for “doing their part,” without them actually having to do their part.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.


Darius Raqqah

Raytheon’s already got five women on its board. Beat that, Yemen.