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Quotas for women on boards [Mar. 8th, 2011|01:31 pm]
Tony Abbot says women should earn board positions
He says that he has "always been cool on quotas" because "if we give them [women] more opportunities to show their merits we'll see more success".

That is perhaps the arguement for why quotas could be useful, at least in the short to medium term.  We have been trying the "we'll hire women on their merit" approach for over 50 years, and although there has been progress, it has been glacial.  The cultural change that is needed to provide these opportunites to women just isn't happening on its own.  Perhaps quotas can kick start the chagne.

I believe that there is a fairly well documented tendency for boards to appoint other board members like themselves (I'll try to hunt down some references later).  And as board members are overwhelmingly male, white and wealthy, it follows that they hire other wealthy, white men.  So if they were forced (for example by quotas) to appoint someone different, they might finally see that there is merit outside their mould.  I'm sure that it isn't a dearth of suitable women, it is the opportunities that are lacking. 

I do agree that quotas are not ideal, and that's why I would suggest they are at best a medium term option.  But as a tool for cultural change, they could be effective.  Thoughts?

PS Happy International Women's Day!

[User Picture]From: thebenj
2011-03-10 11:00 pm (UTC)
I totally agree. It would be lovely if someone could come up with a more elegant solution to the imbalance, but until the imbalance is fixed, nothing but forcing it seems like it'll work.
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