Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released this statement in response to the letter sent by 13 Republican Attorneys General to the CEOs of the nation’s Fortune 100 companies pressuring them to root out diversity and inclusion in their companies.
“While Committee Republicans continue their efforts to dismantle diversity and inclusion considerations in the financial services industry, Republican Attorneys General are simultaneously using the extremist and misguided decision by the Supreme Court to gut Affirmative Action, as grounds to further their war against diversity and inclusion by targeting diversity and inclusion efforts in the workforce. As we’re seeing, Republican AGs are willing to go to extreme lengths to advance their 'anti-woke' agenda, even if it means peddling lies about the legality of these initiatives, and bullying companies for taking crucial efforts to create safe, inclusive, and diverse workplaces.
Let’s be clear, diversity and inclusion initiatives include the employee resource groups that give much-needed support to workers with shared identities and interests, the sensitivity training that help employees to become more aware of their biases and interact with others in mindful and constructive ways, the programs that foster the hiring and promotion of underrepresented groups, and more. These initiatives are not illegal. In fact, anti-discrimination laws protect all Americans by ensuring that employers do not make hiring decisions based on race, religion, or gender – period. Not only are these efforts legal, but according to research – highly beneficial to a company’s bottom line.
As previous Chair of the Financial Services Committee, I established Congress’ first-ever Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, which was chaired by my colleague Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. Under our leadership, this subcommittee authored several reports examining the lack of diversity in the financial services industry and undertook historic work to increase diversity in the industry at all levels. Not only have Republicans elimination of the subcommittee stifled the progress we’ve made, but this 'anti-woke' campaign threatens to completely undo the critical progress the industry has made as a result of Committee Democratic oversight.
Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans and Republican AGs are so deeply committed to maintaining the predominantly white and male makeup of our nation’s industries, particularly our financial services industries, that we can expect the attacks and pressure on our nation’s companies to only grow worse. I urge companies to not let these baseless attacks deter them from their commitment to the urgent work of diversity and inclusion – of which decency and data is so overwhelmingly on their side. I also want to applaud Democratic AGs for the recent letter they sent to the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies encouraging them to remain committed to their diversity and inclusion efforts despite Republican intimidation, and I look forward to continue working with them to combat these misguided attacks. At a time when our nation’s racial-wealth gap continues to widen, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workforce could not be any more important than they are today. We will keep fighting.”
On May 1, 2019, the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held a hearing entitled, “Good for the Bottom Line: A Review of the Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion.”
On June 20, 2019, the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held a hearing entitled, “Diversity in the Boardroom: Examining Proposals to Increase the Diversity of America’s Boards.”
On October 17, 2019, the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held a hearing entitled, “Promoting Inclusion: Examining the Need for Diversity Practices for America’s Changing Workforce.”
On February 12, 2020, the Committee released a report and held a subsequent Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee hearing entitled, “A Review of Diversity and Inclusion at America’s Large Banks.”
On June 29, 2021, the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held a hearing entitled, “The Legacy of George Floyd: An Examination of Financial Services Industry Commitments to Economic and Racial Justice.”
On December 9, 2021, the Committee released a report and held a subsequent Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee hearing entitled, “A Review of Diversity and Inclusion Performance at America’s Large Investment Firms.”
On September 20, 2022, the Committee released a report and held a subsequent Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee hearing entitled, “A Review of Diversity and Inclusion Performance at America’s Large Investment Firms.”