Friday news roundup October 5, 2018
Major tech companies in the US need more women on their boards. Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown passed a law requiring all publicly traded companies based in California to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021, all boards must have two women, and boards with six or more members must have three women. Several major tech companies—including Apple, Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Facebook—will need to add more women to their boards of directors over the next few years as a result. Attaching his signature to the law, Brown added: “It’s high time that corporate boards include the people that constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America.”
The UK’s Green Party believes free time, rather than GDP, should be the measure of the country’s well-being. At a time when people’s work–life balance is in crisis, with more people working on their daily commute, the Green Party believes that time spent outside work and commuting would be a better measure of how well the UK is doing than GDP. Calling for a “Free Time Index,” the party says annual figures on leisure time should be published in the budget and inform policy. Co-leader Sian Berry told the BBC, “People are constantly ‘on,’ even when they are commuting. There’s an enormous amount of unpaid caring going on which doesn’t get measured, which doesn’t leave people with very much free time either. We have got a mental health crisis and we think we should be measuring this.” She added that other indicators of a healthy society should also be measured, like “resource use, housing affordability and health.”
Elections will be held in Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Brazil this weekend. On Saturday Latvians will elect a new parliament, with the fight against corruption a key campaign issue. Observers are interested to see whether the outcome will find the country aligned closer with Russia or the West. Bosnia and Herzegovina heads to the polls on Sunday. In 2017, Bosnia’s youth unemployment stood at 54.8% and this, together with widespread corruption, is driving migration, resulting in a brain drain. Experts are concerned that voter apathy and patronage politics mean little is likely to change in the near future. Brazilians also vote on Sunday, at a time when a record number of the country’s political representatives face criminal charges, its most popular politician is in jail, and the election front-runner is recovering from a near-fatal stabbing during a campaign event. Brazil's unemployment rate is high but its fragile economy is gradually picking up steam. According to opinion polls, voters are looking to elect an experienced and competent president who will change things for the better.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The act, inspired by the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics, and which was enacted on October 5, should spur Japanese national legislation. It also commits the city government to conducting public education about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. “The Tokyo metropolitan government has enshrined in law its commitment to hosting an inclusive and rights-respecting Olympic games,” said Kanae Doi, Japan Director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities now need to put the policy into action and end anti-LGBT discrimination in schools, workplaces, and the wider society.”