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Texas Senate Bill 3

Statement from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on Texas Discriminatory Bathroom Legislation
July 27, 2017

Senate Bill 3 (SB 3), the proposed Texas legislation restricting bathroom access for transgender people, goes against our mission to ensure that everyone can live and work in an inclusive environment.

According to our values: “We embrace diversity in its broadest interpretation and commit to creating an inclusive environment for all our members and stakeholders. We value the contributions of a diverse membership, which enables the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to achieve its full potential.”

SWE’s members, stakeholders, and partners have seen how decades of discrimination and barriers to opportunities have shortchanged society and hindered the advancement of women and minorities seeking an even-playing field.

We support efforts to defeat the proposed legislation currently pending in the Texas legislature and we stand with like-minded partners such as IBM, AT&T, American Airlines, Apple and Microsoft as well as the Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau and other supporters of the LGBTQ community in opposing this legislation.

Not only would this legislation strike a blow against diversity, it will create a poisonous economic climate that many organizations and businesses prefer to avoid and prevent them from recruiting and retaining globally competitive talent. The Texas Association of Business estimates that the passage of SB 3 may result in the loss of 8.5 billion in GDP and over 185,000 jobs in the first year. We need only recall North Carolina’s experiment (HB 2) in transgender discrimination to learn how this will end--badly for Texas and for those who truly care about equal opportunity for all citizens.

SWE selected Austin as the location for its WE17 annual conference in October (26th - 28th) because of Texas’ reputation as an excellent business climate that melds an up and coming technology industry with unique culture and history. While SB 3 would exempt stadiums and convention centers if leased to a private entity like SWE, it is our sincere hope that the legislation is defeated before over 12,000 participants arrive in Austin for WE17. If SB 3 passes, SWE will have to reconsider hosting future annual conferences in the state of Texas.

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