Forty Years After Title VII: Creating an Atmosphere Condusive to Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom

27 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007  

Donald J. Polden

Independent

Abstract

In 1964, when the Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, proponents expressed hope that the legislation would provide an impetus to reduce discrimination and increase workplace opportunities for women and minorities. The forty years of Title VII's history demonstrates considerable progress in accomplishing the goals of greater workplace inclusion, a reduction in employment discrimination, and greater opportunities for women and minorities. However, the anticipated goal of greater opportunities for women and minorities in other areas of the economy—those not specifically covered by Title VII—has not been realized. The Article examines a two specific areas—appointment of federal appellate judges and selection and election of directors of publicly held corporations—to determine if the climate for greater inclusion of women and minorities has improved during the tenure of Title VII. The Articles argues that women, in particular, and minorities, have not been selected for these positions at rates or levels that are consistent with the promise of Title VII. The Article then draws into analysis the underlying goals of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 to argue that the fundamental policy of Sarbanes Oxley—that independent directors are necessary to advance legislative goals of competence, integrity and objectivity in the management of publicly held companies—is advanced by the promotion of an underlying goal of Title VII--that the legislation creates an atmosphere conducive to greater employment opportunities for women and racial and ethnic minorities. The confluence of these dual legislative goals suggests that greater attention must be provided to the creation of leadership opportunities for women and minorities in American corporations.

Suggested Citation

Polden, Donald J., Forty Years After Title VII: Creating an Atmosphere Condusive to Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom. Santa Clara University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 06-08; University of Memphis School of Law, Vol. 36, No. 1, Fall 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=931203

Donald J. Polden (Contact Author)

Independent

No Address Available

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