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Gender equity amendment approved by House

MEDIA RELEASE

The House of Representatives on Friday approved SB858, which included an amendment to add a gender equity section.

It was introduced by Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) and asks that appointing authorities for boards and commissions strive to achieve the goal of equal gender representation.

The section reads: “The governor or relevant appointing authority, as far as practicable, shall strive for the goal of equal gender representation when appointing members to boards and commissions and shall give priority to achieving the goal of gender equity when appointing members to vacancies, at-large positions, and as alternates.”

“The amendment is a policy statement requesting the appointing authority to strive to achieve gender equality, it is not a mandate. While I realize that qualified individuals need to sit on boards and commissions the glaring discrepancies in the makeup of these boards and commissions need to also be recognized and addressed,” Evans said.

“Half of our State’s population is female and working. Yet there exists great disparities on several boards and commissions responsible for overseeing our industries and institutions that play significant roles in Hawaii. For example, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents has 12 male members and 3 females; The Hawaii Tourism authority has 10 males and 2 females; and the Land Use Commission has 8 males and 1 female. We need to be mindful of under representation and strive to correct it where it occurs,” Evans said.

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