Fighting for Women's Equality

ERA Sponsors VC Industry Sexual Harassment Bill with Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson

August 17, 2017 | by

August 17, 2017

Sarah Christiano, Equal Rights Advocates

Cynthia Moreno, Sen. Jackson’s office


Equal Rights Advocates Sponsors VC Industry Sexual Harassment Bill
with CA Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

If we want industry change, the law needs to have women’s backs,
says Noreen Farrell, Women’s Civil Rights Leader

San Francisco, CA – In response to pervasive scandals dogging the tech industry, Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is sponsoring legislation introduced by California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-19) to clarify legal protections for entrepreneurs against sexual harassment by investors.

Senator Jackson introduced the current form of Senate Bill 224 this week. It amends the California Unruh Act, which provides protection from discrimination by state business establishments, to clarify the current law prohibits sexual harassment in the investor-entrepreneur relationship. 

“Sexual harassment can no longer stand between a great woman entrepreneur and the launch of her company,” says Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a national civil rights organization that protects gender rights in workplaces and schools.

Farrell continues, “If we want to see the venture capital industry change and an end to sexual harassment of women in technology, we need strong legal protections. No matter how well intentioned, decency pledges won’t cut it. Senate Bill 224 demonstrates to all women that the law has their back.”

California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who represents Santa Barbara County and most of Ventura County, says, “Stories of the harassment of women entrepreneurs by venture capital investors have been disturbing to me and to many others. There’s no doubt that with stories like Google, we are seeing a different but related underside to this very male-dominated industry. This illustrates that women face serious battles and barriers. It isn’t enough to be outraged — we also need to take action, not only in the legislature, but to see actions taken among leaders in the tech industry as well.”

Senator Jackson and advocates are preparing to move this bill out of the Senate by the end of January 2018.

“We won’t tolerate the discriminatory mindset that fuels sexual harassment,” Farrell says. “California has long been a leader of progressive reform in the country. We step up again with this bill clarifying that sexual harassment by venture capital investors violates the law.”


Equal Rights Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls. (


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